Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Albert Einstein

The average tenure of a CMO is about two years…”
Marketing Sherpa in 2008

“CMO tenure is a problem that only gets worse as company size decreases.”
Bob Van Rossum, MarketPro

Let’s focus on Van Rossum’s quote in the context of Einstein’s quote. In the past two months I’ve met with 5 CEOs of emerging VC-funded companies. They ran the gamut from genomics through managed services. What they had in common was they had all recently fired their VP’s of Marketing and decided to postpone filling the position.

Their reasoning is the same: they recognized that the first thing the VP of Marketing would do is recruit marketing firms to execute tactics for them. Further these VP’s would be merely acting as an intermediary between the sales and product teams, and the agency(s). For these companies it is too early to “hand over the keys” of strategy and vision to a marketing person. In Silicon Valley the burdened cost for a good B2B VP of Marketing is between $220K and $250K / year, plus equity. This is a very expensive fee to pay for someone to facilitate meetings. The companies I met with are hiring less-seasoned (and less expensive) candidates to manage these relationships.

Until a B2B company gains traction, it makes more sense to partner with a firm that can provide both strategic and tactical marketing on a managed services basis. The result is that for less than the cost of a VP of Marketing you get a complete marketing team. This partner can take on the burden of extracting and synthesizing information from the executive team and executing it through various measurable, tactical programs.

If you are an emerging B2B company and are about to recruit a very expensive marketing resource, consider the alternative. It isn’t that who you recruit won’t be talented; there are simply too many skills and tasks required to make this an effective investment. Statistics on the tenure of marketing professionals in emerging B2B companies support my stance.

Care to discuss the alternative? Give me a call: 408-827-8484
ThruTheNoise at gmail dot com

Going to Market is Like Going to War