Why CMOs Need to Own Product

Turning the Advertising Monologue into the Product Dialog

Jim Taschetta , writing in this morning's ClickZ,...

Why CMO's Need to Own Product Development

...offered an observation so profound and simple that it merits immediate comment here: it opens up a revealing dialog about the nature of Product Management and Marketing in an organization.

  1. Product Management is a Marketing Function: If you remember nothing else from business school marketing I hope that you remember your three 'C's (Customers, Competition, Company) and four 'P's (Product, Placement, Pricing, Promotion).  Those are the factors that make up the marketing foundation of any offering, and should be the overarching concern of the product professional.  The CMO needs ownership of Product Management, which should drive Product Development.

  2. Marketers Must Understand their Products: The days when hosting parties and hiring agencies could keep a CMO in place in the long-term are long gone.  Depending on the size of the product stable, the CMO or a direct report should be able to do a high-level functional demo of every product offering.

  3. We Need Specifications: Engineering is fundamentally not a marketing function, and we rely on their expertise to deliver functional solutions.  A waterfall-type product 'book' that defines every aspect of the new product before any development work happens is too rigid, but I have seen 'agile' methodologies attempt to condense an entire new product offering to a single 3x5 card.  In the middle lies a comprehensive summary of what needs to be built, with enough detail that it should be possible to make technical documentation, marketing copy, sales collaterals and training materials 90% complete before any development work begins.

  4. Know the Role of the Marketer: Before you can place Engineering ownership into Marketing, you must place marketing ownership into Marketing.  Many Marketing teams and marketers cling to the notion that Marketing is sales, or that marketing is advertising.  Combining the single-prospect dialog of Sales with the mass-market monologue of advertising results in overall understanding of customers and their needs.  When Marketing and Product professionals step into their role as informed advocate for the client it only makes sense for Development teams to follow their leadership.

As we better evangelize product benefits externally and client needs internally we take away reasons for ownership of our products to lie anywhere but with our team.

The Chief Monday 14 January 2013 - 08:29 am | | Analysis