Article

Kevin Adema
Kevin Adema 28 March 2017

Coke’s Global CMO Backed Away From Digital. And it might have cost him his job.

Indeed, digital has climbed to the C-suite of priorities and Coke’s actions are paving the way for a complete rewiring of what’s working and what’s not.

Coca-Cola is overhauling their marketing approach and says good-bye to Global CMO, Marcos de Quinto. Moreover, in this new era of marketing, the global beverage giant has removed the CMO position altogether and new CEO, Mr. James Quincey has a direct line to digital as CIO Barry Simpson is now a direct report with a role of: increasing visibility and focus on efforts to digitize all aspects of the company’s business.

Albeit the departure was handled with grace and respect, it draws into question how only a few months ago, de Quinto spoke at a US beverage industry conference citing: “Social media is for those who don’t have a true digital strategy,”. Moreover, in his work: “Facebook ‘freaking everyone out’ as Coke makes global swing back to TV”, Anthony Fitzgerald, CEO of MCN offers poignant insights when he states: “I’m convinced the [marketing] industry needs a complete rewiring in how it understands and prioritizes advertising effectiveness and therefore the investment weighting to some channels over others in the media mix.” 

Indeed, digital has climbed to the C-suite of priorities and Coke’s actions are paving the way for a complete rewiring of what’s working and what’s not. The swing back to TV and away from digital might not have been the right approach after all…

Couple this with the recent study done by Spencer Stuart in where they cited a very “uncertain world” for CMO’s. Covered in Marketing Week’s article, the study directly calls out how: “The average tenure of chief marketing officers in the US has dropped for the first time in a decade, meaning marketers now have to work even harder to prove their worth to the board.”

Marketing is under massive pressure to act and perform in today’s digital world and it better be done quickly. Carmen Bekker, management partner at J. Walter Thompon London supports this act-now pressured reality: “Marketers known to have a stable set of competitors and a logical set of customers have had this thrown up in the air by technology. As such, CMOs need to be ever more responsive, much more agile in their plans and more accountable for their success and failures”

Said bluntly: digital has the marketing world in flux. The pressure is on and marketing is now more accountable than ever before. In earlier work where we discussed the Digital Tipping Point, the Adobe 2017 Digital Trends report showed how brands must embrace the new pivotal digital realities but ultimately, how the: “digital transformation, which is intrinsically linked to creating a customer experience, requires the orchestration of numerous moving parts.”

Coca-Cola’s no longer has a CMO role but digital is definitely on the C-level priority list. The question looms: will marketers be included by making the necessary changes or will they get trimmed away in the global pursuit of a brand that delivers meaningful customer experiences.

3 months ago, digital was still in question.

I think the question has been unequivocally answered. Digital is here to stay and marketers have to prove their worth…and quickly.

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