Need to Read, May 31, 2007

McKinsey Quarterly: Coping With Consumer Complexities

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In "How Consumer Goods Companies are Coping with Complexity," McKinsey & Co. principals Blair Crawford, Susan Mulder and Jonathan Gordon detail results of a recent McKinsey survey of CMOs at 20 leading North American consumer goods companies. The survey finds that in an era of unprecedented levels of change -- including the proliferation of media choices and the dominance of big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart -- "high-performing" marketers are experimenting with new media, new methods for gathering consumer insights and more collaboration with major retailers -- and they're "more likely to let frontline marketers take chances."

In its June issue, Fast Company highlights a fact we in "the industry" know all too well: The CMO job is "the riskiest job in the American C-suite." In "The Most Dangerous Job in Business," writer Ellen McGirt calls the CMO post "incredibly perilous" and "the 'fall guy' job." The article breaks no new ground with its list of casualties -- usual suspects Russ Klein, Kerri Martin and Michael Linton all make an appearance -- and it leans on the dog-eared Spencer Stuart annual report on CMO turnover for support, but still, its an interesting read, if only to contemplate the challenge through the lens of a general-business pub.
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