Mario Sundar

LinkedIn's 2nd PR hire. These are my thoughts on products, public relations, and startups.

The Question still lingers…

My MarketingProfs post – Top 10 CMO Blogs, had a counter-post by Roy Young (Director of Strategy and Development for MarketingProfs), regarding why he thinks CMO blogging may not be the best idea. I thought it’s an interesting argument he puts forth and I’m also quoting some responses to his idea right below.

Observing that few CMOs blog in a recent post, Mario Sundar argues that it’s “imperative for CMOs/VPs of Marketing to blog, since they are expected to be the voice of the company.”

I disagree. Blogs are another communications medium, and C-suite marketers who are focused on communications do not stay in the position very long.

I interviewed successful CMOs for my forthcoming book, Marketing Champions and found that they are not concerned solely with getting the word out about the organization’s products and services. CMOs are most concerned with creating and keeping customers for cash flow now and in the future.

Well, Roy, It’s unfortunate that CMO tenures don’t last more than 2 years. However, I see that as the strongest reason to archive a company’s voice via a permanent blog. And, if the CMOs main priority is “creating and keeping customers”, I don’t see any better way to connect with your prospects & customers than with a blog. There’s nothing more assuring to your customer than the fact that you listen to them. And, a blog is definitely one of the ways you can show that you’re listening.

My good friend, Ann Handley opines:

Leaders like Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE, and Cisco’s John Chambers spend (or spent) a third of their time with customers. Such leadership behavior “sends a distinct message to the organization that all employees should focus on providing customers with higher levels of value,” Hellenbeck writes.

And no — Hellenbeck isn’t talking about blogs, exclusively. But why ignore such an opportunity? Why shut a direct window to your customers?

Kevin Horne freaks out at the thought of C-suite execs blogging:

I take Mario’s comment to the extreme – as a shareholder I don’t EVER want to see a C-level blogging. They are being paid millions – I’ll get their “insights” from the quarterly report transcripts.In my humble opinion, the best blogs are from those a level or two down in the organization – those who actually touch customers, products, and fellow employees – the “inner workings” so to speak. Sun’s Jonathan Schwartz is an exception – one of the few inner workings guys to get promoted to the C-suite.

Well, Kevin, I hear you. It’s a scary thought to contemplate C-suite execs blogging like I do, but I believe it’s a strong symbol to have C-suites blogging the salient points of their annual report (for eg.). It’s an open channel of communication with your customers. What better way to receive feedback on your products? It’s like an army general having real-time feedback from the war zone. Priceless intelligence.

This comment from our very own Mack, sums it up:

The point is, as Hugh MacLeod once said, that blogging makes things happen indirectly. Start blogging and you start talking to your customers. They start talking back. You start to better understand them, they start to better understand you. They realize that you are listening to them, you realize that they just want to be heard. Their expectations of you begin to change to meet your limitations, your processes begin to change to better meet their wants and needs.

End result? Sales increase. Costs go down. Customer satisfaction and service goes up. All this happens indirectly.

The Catch-22 is that companies truly can’t see the benefits of blogging until they start, and many don’t want to start until they KNOW they can make money off it.

Amen.

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