Sitting in a fancy cabin with the glass door labeled “CMO” I felt unsure of my role and position. I was leading a function that was being constantly judged and undervalued. I was an expert in a function that was considered superficial and labeled as a cost centre rather than a value-adding function I knew it to be. I was inundated by unsolicited advice from every other function to market my skills, to be an aspiring business partner and to demonstrate the ROI inorder to earn a seat in the boardroom. Why?
Every time a business strategy left the boardroom full of everyone but a marketer, we were called upon to “beautify”, “dazzle” and “market the proposition”. Our only prerogative was to make sure that that all the crucial elements of the marketing process—digitalisation, content, PR—worked in harmony to amplify the reach or glorify the message. “Make sure it looks good” or “Get some fancy digital stuff done”, they’d say.
God forbid if I questioned the product/service invention or business utility or suggested improvements, I’d be subjected to condescending laughter, accompanied by phrases like “Now the marketers will teach us business”. Worse, I’d unwittingly step on some important/sensitive toes. All my experience and proprietary knowledge was buried under my role of a mouthpiece for the organisation.
Doubts and insecurity haunted me. When suddenly, it dawned upon me—the epiphany that transformed everything.
Who is the orchestrator of this chaotic maze of leadership wants, business objectives and stakeholder management? Who creates your identity in this crowded marketplace? Who leads your demand generation efforts? Who creates the pull to gravitate the right target segment in the noisy digital space? Who is tuned into the customer’s experience and voice? Who is the differentiator providing the right positioning to your product and services? Who is weaving the complex tapestry of strategies and implementation that impacts each and every stakeholder in the organisation – customers, employees, shareholders, influencers, partners and vendors?
It’s me! It’s my intellectual capital that infuses life into the proprietary asset called Brand. Without me the marketing process would only be hundreds of pawns without a mastermind.
And I want the credit that was due to me. I wanted the credit that is due to all the marketing veterans out there. For their sweat, their passion, their creativity, their insights, their experience, their knowledge… their intellectual capital.
That’s not all.
I wanted to disrupt the traditional and irrational thought process that inspired organisations to view marketing only as a SERVICE rather than an intellectual property creator. I wanted to disrupt the prejudice that followed me to every CMO cabin I occupied. I wanted to be acknowledged as a creator of marketing intelligence that no brand/organisation can survive without.
I wanted my due.
The marketing function wanted its due
Inspiration was knocking at my door…