Interview with Pete Krainik on CMO Engagement and what works. Check it out.
Why did you start the club?
I’ve been in marketing a long time, having worked at M&M/Mars, DoubleClick and Avayaand started to grow tired of unproductive CMO-targeted events. After attending three bad CMO events in a row, I started hosting “CMOs only” dinners with my CMO friends, hoping we could help each other solve some of our bigger challenges. Based on positive feedback from CMOs after the first few dinners, I formally formed the CMO CLUB in 2007 and continue to lead the growth of the club and participating in the world’s best CMO conversations.
What do CMOs enjoy most about the club?
CMO’s really like to talk to other heads of marketing behind closed doors, whether that’s face to face or via our password protected online community. They also appreciate our “no vendor” membership policy, which keeps them from being sold too. Also, our programs are designed to not only educate members but also inspire them based on the expertise of their peers. The mantra for members is to stay connected, stay motivated, and stay relevant in their careers, all with the help of their fellow CMOs.
How is the club different from other CMO associations?
The CMO Club is the only engaged CMO group, I know of, that is designed and lead by CMOs based on:
1) Heads of Marketing Only (2/3 of requests to join the club are denied as the club is not open to more junior marketers and marketing execs from Agencies, PR Firms, Marketing services and Platform providers, or any companies selling predominately to marketing organizations). and
2) “CMO Worthy” Content only and Insights developed and shared by CMOs in the club vs. vendor driven content, and
3) Mix of face to face (Dinners and Summits) and a CMOs only password protected community platform, resulting in building relationships and finding answers to their challenges 365 days per year, and
4) A zero tolerance policy for spamming and selling (25 members were kicked out of the club in 2011 for spamming members), and
5) Leveraging the access, insight, and power of an engaged group of CMOs
a. Access to CMO peers, CMO open jobs, Startups of interest to CMOs, and Authors, Speakers, Celebs and Artists looking to partner with Brands to help them engage their customers.
b. Insight from over 600 member CMOs to solve their biggest challenges through white papers, case studies, research reports, CMO CLUB TV shows, Summit content, and poll results, all shared by CMOs in the club.
c. Power from an organized group of over 600 CMOs with marketing budgets, resulting in special CMO CLUB members only deals around private business club access, speaker discounts, access to special events including NASCAR, The Grammys, Concerts, Hotels and Travel.
What are the top three things CMOs are using the community platform for?
The community site is used by all CMO CLUB members to RSVP for dinners, summits, and other events and to invite other CMOs to try the club through a dinner or summit. The clubs growth from 50 to 600 CMOs has been led by word of mouth from current CMO CLUB members.
In addition, the Members section and Member Profile details are used daily by members to find CMOs with the industry, company size, or geographical experience to help them solve their problems. Special groups are starting to form as well by CMOs in the club with like interests.
Finally, the Forum section ( where CMOs ask questions for other CMOs to answer and help them ), Vendor Ratings section ( where CMOs rate vendors across 18 vendor categories ) is used daily by club members to help them with short lists or vendor selection processes, and CMO Jobs section (where CMOs post and find open CMO positions. In 2011, 22 CMOS found new jobs through the club).
How has the club evolved?
The club has evolved in a number of ways. I would say the biggest evolution has been the expansion from “The World’s Best CMO Conversations” to “The World’s Best CMO Conversations and Content”. More and more CMOs are sharing and finding “CMO Worthy” content on the community site vs the earlier years of the club. We continue to work on new ways to capture the conversations so other CMOs can benefit, without undermining the “what happens at CMO CLUB Dinners and Summits, stays at the dinner and summits”.
The club’s membership continues to evolve with now over 38% of the club’s members from $ billion brands, vs. less than 25% in early 2011. The club’s CMO memberships are now 52% B2C vs. 48% B2B, a slight increase in B2C over the last 18 months. As the bigger, global brand CMO memberships continue to grow, the challenges and conversations include more global brand leadership, global social media questions, and marketing mix optimizations and new media engagement.
Finally, the CMOs are requesting and getting club news, new content, dinner invitations, etc, customized to when and how they want it (some like to get content updates in the late afternoons during the week while others like to receive updates Sunday morning).
What’s coming for CMOs in the club before the end of 2012?
Led by an active CMO Advisory Group we have a number of new programs, tools and policies scheduled to rollout before the end of 2012. One of the big programs scheduled to rollout in June is the delivery of a new CMO CLUB Platform and site. The new site will allow CMOs in the club to find, access, and share content easier than before and find and build relationships with other CMOs in the club through a new member profile search, access, and engagement. Finally, CMOs will now be able to find, RSVP, and share upcoming events with other CMOs.
In addition, based on requests from CMOs in the club, we are rolling out a new CMO CLUB Labs program, designed for selected Startups to share breakthrough new ideas, services and platforms exclusively for CMOs in the club and provide CMOs a directory of “breakthrough” CMO worthy startups.
Finally, a new program for CMOs in the club, looking for additional short term CMO work to find short term projects through the “CMO outsourcing” CMO CLUB program.
How are CMOs staying engaged through the club?
CMOs are remaining engaged in a few ways. The first component is the fact we have CMO-only dinners every 2 months in 15 cities in the US and a number globally. These CMOs connect with their local peers at the dinners and twice a year at the larger summits.
We also share a weekly communications to all club members that rotates from a) New Content from Members, to b) Upcoming events and event recaps, to c) CMO club member news including new members, new CMO jobs (and jobs filled), new questions from CMOs seeking peer help, etc.
CMOs are creating and joining their own subgroups based on similar needs and interests. These subgroups encourage an engaged group of CMOs.
Why should CMOs be in the club?
With the speed of change in their industries, new technology, and emerging customer engagement platforms, CMOs need each other now more than ever. With The CMO CLUB, CMOs are not alone anymore and for the first time in their lives can be connected to a community of engaged peers. One new insight, one new peer relationships, one new program, one new hire, one new star vendor, one new leadership tip, could be the difference between success and failure in 2012 and beyond.
What advice do you offer CMOs interested in joining the club?
The first thing I ask them is “Are you ready to take advantage of all the CMO talent and insight available to you as a member?” Like anything in life, you get what you give. The CMOs that put the effort in to reach out and meet new CMOs, search for new content of interest, or explore a new section on the site for new idea, get more out of the club.
The second piece of advice is simple. The club’s success to date and future value to CMOs as members is based on the mantra of “Give to Get”. CMOs desiring to join the club need to share their expertise, recommendations, and other “CMO worthy” ideas and content, in exchange for benefiting from the value of the club’s Curated Content and their new CMO Peer relationships.