Beware The Overly Self-Promotional CMO

CMO is a tough job.  The half-life is short.  The pressure is high.  And the job often is so multi-faceted.  A CMO has to:

  • Own demand gen (hopefully)
  • Own product marketing
  • Own customer marketing (hopefully)
  • Support and partner with sales
  • Own brand & brand positioning

It’s a big job.  And part of being a good marketer is … well, marketing yourself.

Many of the top CMOs are out there are always marketing.  Both their company and many times, themselves.

And that’s good.  Having a CMO that is present, that is visible, is great for recruiting and much more.  I’ve just observed one thing:  CMOs that spend too much time marketing themselves generally fail.

Why?  Because it’s too easy.  It’s too easy to slip into podcasts, into articles, into videos that are as much or more about the CMO than the company.   It’s easy to fall into this trap in a job and role that is in large part itself promotional.

And that just doesn’t ever seem to leave enough time left to truly do the rest of the job.  The real job.

So my only advice is just this: when the time comes to hire a CMO, take a look at their LinkedIn, their Twitter profile, their blog posts.  Is at least 50% of what they are promoting … their company — or themselves?  If the former, go forward.  But if the majority of their promotions are themselves, and not their companies, I’d pass.

They may know the full playbook.  But too much of it will be about putting themselves up in the limelight.  And not enough about the company.

And also be aware that many people will love the overly self-promotional CMO.  Your board will almost certainly love them.  The rest of the team may love them.  They are, after all, highly practiced at self-promotion.  And often quite charismatic.  But it’s your job as CEO to make sure the majority of that energy benefits the company.

Published on April 16, 2021

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