comScore

Brand Makers

Why do brands like CRED and Zomato not have a CMO?

Startups have created decentralised systems to build brands and run marketing. The first casualty of the new system is the CMO role.

By  Priyanka NairJan 18, 2023 12:28 PM
Why do brands like CRED and Zomato not have a CMO?
The future-ready marketers are the ones who understand the importance of collaboration and identifying the right skills that they need to master and reset themselves time and again, based on a solid foundation of marketing fundamentals. (Representational Image: Amirhossein Hasani via Unsplash)

The job of the chief marketing officer (CMO) isn’t what it used to be a decade ago. Today CMOs are expected to play a more direct role in driving revenue, thinking of new product innovations, creating the next big viral campaign and everything in between. These shifts in expectations of the role are more prominent in new-age companies, observe experts. Brands like Zomato and CRED have multiple specialised teams who work on different marketing aspects. What they don't have is a CMO.

In some companies, the founder takes charge of the overall marketing function too. A close associate of a new fintech company that recently launched a buzzy advertising campaign tells Storyboard18 that the brand marketing decisions directly come from the founder. The brand has a specialised talent pool that work on day-to-day digital and social media marketing, and coordinate with their agency partners for larger campaigns.

Sai Ganesh, an independent marketing consultant and former head of brand at Dunzo, says in legacy companies the CMO is the captain of the ship. “They are the masters of the 4Ps of marketing. However, over recent years, they got more focused on just the marketing activities for their brands. That’s mainly because they work in mature categories and their role is to generate focused communication strategies.”

In tech companies the story is totally different, observes Ganesh. “Most new-age startups are product-led companies and they spend all their energies in making their product the hero. This is one of the many reasons why you see product leads taking marketing decisions.”

Ganesh also adds that with performance marketing taking a larger share of spends the understanding of data and crunching of numbers need different skillsets. Today, brands look at the effectiveness of a campaign more than ever before. That’s why business and growth heads of companies have stepped into marketing roles and add a different perspective to marketing decisions.

Independent creative writer and founding team member of SuperTeamDAO, Devaiah Bopanna says the flip side of not having a CMO on board is that the responsibilities become decentralised and the decision-making process is slow and/or complex. Bopanna also has another point of view. He says, “Digital media has evolved so much that a CMO who got into the business even a decade ago also has so much to catch up on. Today, a marketer has to understand rapid content, influencer marketing, the dynamics of memes, and everything in between. It’s a lot to process and decode. There aren't many CMOs who know all of this.”

He agrees with Ganesh’s views: At a time when products are constantly pivoting, CMOs have to learn and unlearn how, as marketers, they enagage with stakeholders, products, brands, and customers.

New-age CMOs are expected to do a lot more than their predecessors. The future-ready marketers are the ones who understand the importance of collaboration and identifying the right skills that they need to master and reset themselves time and again, based on a solid foundation of marketing fundamentals. For now, there are several professionals doubling up as marketers. Some are making a mark and others are missing their marks.

First Published on Jan 16, 2023 9:04 AM