To survive as a marketer, you must grab attention, police branding, drive sales, and avoid epic marketing failures at all costs.

This can seem increasingly difficult as we press forward into our modern era. So the question arises: do corporations actually value marketers anymore? Bear in mind, the average tenure of a CMO has improved from 23 months (from 2006) to 43 months (in 2012), according to findings from executive recruitment firm Spencer Stuart. But is that really a stellar stat?

Of course, CMO career expectancy varies according to their respective industries. Their average tenure only spans 25 months in the automotive industry—that’s barely over two years. Communications and media CMOs don’t fare much better with an average of 33 months on the shelf. Meanwhile, industrial company CMOs enjoy over double the average stay at 99 months.

It’s a bit of a mixed bag, but the data suggests that your chair in the boardroom won’t stay warm for very long. And it will only grow colder in the face of colossal marketing failures.

Watch out for alligators

Plenty of marketers are eaten alive due to poor project planning, botched communications, and inefficient collaboration. Even the smallest mistakes can lead to embarrassing marketing failures of epic proportions. Marketing “gone bad” can continue to live on in infamy and secure you a spot on the marketing failures “wall of shame”.

We’ve certainly seen our share of groan-inducing campaigns out there. Not so long ago, Motrin was hit with the backlash of opinionated moms on Twitter, when baby-sling wearing parents unleashed social media hell on the painkiller giant in response for an ad that belittled baby slings as a fashion accessory that might cause body aches and pains.

Back in 2008, the Chilean Central Bank produced and circulated $1.5 million worth of 50-cent pesos that misspelled the country’s name. Over 80 people in charge of reviewing the coins did not notice that Chile was spelled C-H-I-I-E instead of C-H-I-L-E. Whoops! This is inefficient collaboration at its finest—the gourmet dish of botched communications and poor planning.

Sneaking out of the swamp

So how do you circumvent the kind of marketing failures that could cut your career short? First, don’t let fear kill creativity. As marketers, we need to be creative, but we also need to keep a level head. And it’s not just you most of the time, but rather teams of creative people who move marketing forward. It starts with commonsense tools to collaborate on projects. When we adopt the right platform and provide no-nonsense tools to creative teams, we set the stage for the best ideas to emerge, enabling and encouraging creative thinking, without the distraction of hard-to-learn, hard-to-use interfaces.

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