Agency business development implications from longer CMO tenure

Hello, agency new business development fan! Wanted to make sure you saw that the CMO tenure has been increasing over time. From a low point of 23 months in 2006 to its current average term of a whopping 43 months. (See Forbes post.)

Gotta love that. You will be reading a couple of posts around this news. But this post will address a unique area in which agencies can help ensure your agency sticks around for all that time. Thinking around this area can also help you earn and win a new business pitch.

The afore mentioned Forbes post is a quick, fine read. What caught my attention was a comment from the VISA CMO around why he has been able to keep his job for so long (49 months). He attributes his tenure to delivering against three parameters:

  1. business results
  2. brand results
  3. broader organizational impact

Gotta love the above even more, right? You can read about how your agency can impact business and brand results on other terrific new business blogs. It’s fairly straightforward kinda stuff that the industry will continue to wrestle with, optimize, deliver, yadda yadda…

But to me, the third bullet is an interesting thought. One that can make you different from other agencies.

How to create broader impact
This is most interesting because it sparked two immediate ideas:

1. Re-purpose and re-fine the agency / client relationship
I’m not quite sure if that consultant-speak delivers the thought. Might be better to illustrate this with as few sample questions:

  • How might your brand definition work effect a client’s HR policy?
  •  How does your consumer understanding effect the make-up of things like their sales channels, DMA selection or product R&D?
  • When and how is your agency involved in new client initiatives? Who’s in the room on the client side?
  • What services might your competently supply that would get other people in that room?

All agencies deliver business or brand results. Fewer agencies deliver thinking, ideas and services that move beyond marketing communication.

2.Merchandising and marketing the results of the client / agency partnership.
Said in another way, this is helping your client sell-in and sell-through your team’s work throughout his or her organization. That’s a fairly broad idea, but I think it’s clear. The sometimes political, internal stakeholder work that all clients and prospective clients must do to justify marketing’s existence. Not to mention their own jobs. Should you wish to hear more around that, lemme know.

Anywho, I hope this gets you to expand your thinking around the relationship agencies typically enjoy with their clients. Having had the privilege of working on two long standing partnerships (Shell and Coors), I can tell  you it’s the above kind of thinking that leads to happier, more productive and valuable relationships.

Thanks. And happy thinking!


Looking for some hand-picked Thunderclap posts around this area? Check these out:

How to keep your client / agency relationship spicy after 50 years.

How client service can differentiate your agency.

How a Chief Experience Officer can make your ad agency new business more efficient

Another ad agency new business inspiration from Apple

Walk the halls. Now, with donuts.