How good marketing is so much more than fun-and-games

By Chrissie Maus, General Manager at Chapel Street Precinct Association (CSPA)

The acronym CMO is now synonymous with the position of Chief Medical Officer given their rise to unfortunate fame over COVID. But the rise of the other CMO to the C-suite will also be most important to business and all levels of government still going through and recovering from the pandemic. Chief Marketing Officer is the critical communication champion that can make or break your reputation and sales in one campaign.

Back in 2017 when studying with the Australia Institute of Company Directors, I was sitting next to a surgeon who asked me why a Chief Marketing Officer would become a company director? He gave a smug look like he valued my type of CMO (marketing) as much as what his dog ate for breakfast.

The AICD lecturer overheard this and answered swiftly and vehemently for me. She said, when you have to tell staff bad news, do you think they want to hear it from you (undertone noted outlining boring rude surgeon) or someone with Chrissie’s extended EQ, care and charm? I did an imaginary mic drop in my head.

It’s clear communication has become the strength of any good company culture and the foundation of trust for employees and consumers alike. A CMO cocktail all corporations should order.

The nickname Scotty from Marketing doesn’t do my profession as a CMO any favours. Our nation’s leaders are now turning into manufactured brands, and this is because of the CMO. Some do it well, and some, well, you know. Scott Morrison’s apparent about-turn to “encourage” under-40s to consult their GP about receiving an AstraZeneca shot, was not a change of rules, it was politics and a perfect example of a marketing and communication balls-up.

The inaugural vaccine ads, featuring former deputy chief medical officer Nick Coatsworth, were lacklustre compared with those around the world — and nothing compared with having former president Barack Obama or the star power of Sir Elton John.

The new revamped advertising campaign encouraging Australians to “arm yourself” against COVID unveiled by the Federal Government is vanilla at best. This new multimillion-dollar ad isn’t going to save this desultory vaccination program. The ad is boring and doesn’t stand out or really drive an emotional response. All the more mystifying given the supposed marketing prowess of the big man ultimately responsible! This is not the best marketing our country can do.

The Australian Marketing Institute has a denomination that sets the real marketers apart from the rest. Look for the marketers with the CPM (Certified Practising Marketer) post-nominal as this is how you sort the know-alls from the people who actually know. This designation is the only peak professional benchmark of its kind for marketers in the Asia-Pacific region.

You can’t market your way out of a pandemic, but I darn well-tried. In Chapel Street, we had 101 businesses open and 58 close. The only precinct in Victoria to have more open than close in the last 15 months.

Yet for half my almost 20-year career in marketing and communications, my office has been known as “the fun and games department”. The team that could have a red pen put through it on a balance sheet at any time. But the so-called fun-and-games department might just be able to turn your brand around and save your company with intelligently meritorious marketing and cut-through communication.

We are now respected as the golden piece of the puzzle. Doesn’t it make sense to listen to the person who knows and understands your consumers and the market best. The CMO is an opinion you should take notice of. This is what a good balanced board needs.

To deliver a clear message to the public, it isn’t going to be a board of crusties that does this, it’s your Chief Marketing Officer, not Eddy from accounts. Maybe it’s time to re-think your board matrix.

About Chrissie Maus

Chrissie Maus is a Certified Practising Marketer (CPM), a two-time winner in the AMI Marketing Awards 2020, a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and General Manager of Melbourne’s Chapel Street precinct.

This article was originally published by Seven West Media on 13 July 2021. Click here to read the full article.

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