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Coca-Cola has reinstated its Global Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) role in its latest personnel appointment and removal, only two and a half years after it announced that it would not create the position in the future.
In May 2017, Coca-Cola cancelled the CMO and established a new CGO (Chief Growth Officer). According to the appointment announcement at the time, CGO's terms of reference added consumer and business leadership and strategic deployment functions to marketing.
Today, Francisco Crespo, who is the CGO, is about to retire, and his functions are spread across three other C-level positions. Chief Financial Officer John Murphy will be responsible for the company's strategy; President and Chief Operating Officer Brian Smith will take over customer and business operations; Chief Marketing Officer and Asia Pacific President Manuel Arroyo will oversee the team that handles creativity, marketing and insight.
As a fast-moving consumer giant and a marketing benchmark, Coca-Cola's every move is likely to drive the trend.
In the two years that Coca-Cola cancelled the CMO, McDonald's, Johnson & Johnson, Uber, Lyft and other large companies have cancelled their CMO positions. At the same time, Colgate, MDL and other fast-moving consumer giants have added CGO posts.
Analysis articles such as "corporate CMOs have been collectively abandoned", "the demise of CMOs, the rise of CDMO", and "the evolution of big data marketing from CMO to CGO" have emerged endlessly. Coca-Cola's reinstatement as CMO today has also sparked much discussion.
The deepening of the Internet, the diversification of media channels, and changes in consumption patterns are all driving the upgrade of CMOs. The era of “advertising in the golden age” has passed. CMOs who have been ridiculed as “chief money officers” need to convert every money they spend into KPIs that can be quantified. What's more, the position of CMO has gradually disappeared in some companies.
So, is CMO obsolete? What changes have taken place in the marketing industry behind this?
CMO's Past and Present
The position of CMO has been popular throughout the industry for decades, and its initial functions were mainly dedicated to brand building, advertising and market research. Going back to the early days, Coca-Cola, which has the titles of fast-moving consumer giants and marketing giants, is inevitable.