Lead with measurement

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Less than 23 months. That's how long chief marketing officers at the world's top 100 companies remain in their jobs on average, according to a recent survey by the executive search firm Spencer Stuart.

The primary cause of the high crash rate is more rigorous accountability.

Besides the talent you bring to the top marketing job, the team you assemble and the rapport you have with the CEO, what will ultimately keep you in the driver's seat is the degree to which you are systematic and relentless in the measurement and reporting of your initiatives and programs.

Here are some tips on how to put yourself in good position as you come off the starting line:

n Establish realistic first-year objectives. Select three or four key initiatives you are confident you can influence quickly and work them vigorously.

n Conduct a measurement performance audit. Audit the previous administration's model with an eye to establishing a formal, comprehensive measurement program. Keep what continues to work.

n Begin with fewer measurements. Take no more than 20 to 25 initial measurements based on your industry.

n Create a measurement culture. Make your team understand it is Priority One to measure results and that both initiative impact and measurement will be rewarded.

n Communicate measurement continuously and in real time. Work with strategic planning and research, then with IT to create or purchase a suite of tools that will communicate measurement in real time to you and top executives.

n Focus on metrics that link to revenue. Set up measurements that demonstrate how you are delivering revenue performance cost-effectively. Show how you can deliver quality, cost-effective sales opportunities.

n Keep your narrative simple. Don't develop reporting for number-crunchers.

CMOs, start your engines!

Clark Crowdus is founder and principal of High-Definition Consulting Group, San Francisco. He can be reached

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