The Interim CMO – A Master Bridge Builder

Elusive growth, global market fluctuations, rapidly changing technology, and fragmented buyer behaviors are just some of the dynamics driving the need to have the right marketing leader in place. The question for many organizations often becomes when should such a leader be brought into the organization? Finding the right CMO takes significant recruiting resources and often more time than anticipated. Not all organizations are ready to make this commitment given their stage of development.

In an environment where private equity and venture capital exits have accelerated, speed-to-market is critically important for both management and financiers. Private equity and venture capitalist need a senior marketing strategist at the table who can be a sounding board and responsible partner for leading critical game changing initiatives. Businesses cannot afford to have an empty CMO seat when embarking on key market entry and growth programs. This is when tapping into an interim CMO can propel an organization to marketing success and a sustainable competitive advantage. An interim CMO works by forming a single team with the organization in order to quickly access the current resources and establish lasting marketing, brand, and business development foundations, including strategies and tactics that boost the organization forward in reaching growth goals. I like to think of the Interim CMO as a master bridge builder connecting existing staff and resources to the greater organizational goals and outcomes. They survey the entire landscape and design structural elements and solutions that not only get the job done but withstand the test of time.

So what type of complex work is the Interim CMO asked to tackle? There are a broad range of marketing foundation and growth initiatives that they are often called upon to drive, these often include:

o Go-to-Market strategies
o Brand strategy creation and development
o Marketing plans and budgets
o Product launches
o Market/client/geographic expansion strategies
o Sales enablement and demand generation
o Product/service integration and (re)positioning pre/post acquisition
o Market, brand, customer, and competitor research
o Product development
o Customer experience strategy
o Marketing team assessments and (re)structuring
While bringing in an interim CMO can effectively accomplish growth initiatives, what makes the interim CMO stand apart from all other marketing resource solutions is the following:

Delivering Immediate Impact
By hiring an Interim CMO, organizations can immediately leverage a senior resource with a proven track record of success against similar challenges. The recruiting and on-boarding time is minimized and firms can apply the resource to the challenge at hand.

Maximizing Operating Efficiency
Many organizations are not ready for or cannot afford a full time, long-term CMO. Instead of assigning marketing to other staffers who may not have the experience to drive the strategic initiatives the organization needs to grow and survive, an interim CMO can be brought in to achieve specific measurable goals without ongoing expensive overhead.

Mature and Objective Expertise
Interim CMOs are seasoned marketing professionals who have led significant marketing organizations in prior long-term positions. They bring to the table top-tier experience with an objective perspective to tackle often the most complex marketing challenges successfully. Many years of experience within different organizations means they have applied marketing practices during fluctuating cycles and across multiple business situations. This provides them with an understanding of how to objectively access the capabilities of an in-house team and deal with the complexities that can often arise in converting strategy to tangible implementation. Quite often organizations that require Interim CMOs are in a period of change and transition. Since Interim CMOs are hired to deliver against specific goals, they are able to step back and work through complex situations to deliver the needed outcomes.

So as you seek to grow your business, think about whom you want by your side. Rather than walk the path alone, pull in an Interim CMO to help you build a bridge to the future.

About the Author

Robin Liebowitz

Robin Liebowitz With more than 25 years working with global corporations, governments, and entrepreneurial ventures, Robin brings a highly strategic perspective and creative, hands-on approach to delivering integrated international brand, marketing, and communications solutions. She has held positions within corporate and agency environments covering the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Middle East spanning a range of sectors including financial and professional services, energy, technology, government and non-profit. As a principal with rkl3D, a solution-focused marketing consultancy, she provides interim management solutions to achieve market development, growth and brand building objectives.