chief marketing officers

A marketing exec's digital survival plan

December 5, 2011: 11:13 AM ET

A recent survey of chief marketing officers shows that many feel unprepared to handle today's social media-infested waters. There's hope, though.

By Alex Konrad, reporter

FORTUNE – The Mad Men-esque days of dreaming up television spots and billboard campaigns over a three-martini lunch died amid the rise of Netscape and the digital revolution of the 1990s.

But with social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter quite established by now, "going digital" in the marketing world no longer means simply catching up to speed on newsfeeds and retweets.

Chief marketing officers, or CMOs, at most major companies know that -- they said so in hundreds in a wide-reaching IBM survey released in mid-October. But they don't always know where to go from there.

"Marketing was just easier in the past, there's no question," explains Philip Kotler, a prolific author and longtime marketing professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Turns out hundreds of chief marketing officers share Kotler's view. "The biggest takeaway for me was how under-prepared CMOs are feeling with what they identified as top marketing factors, from social media to changing demographics," says Carolyn Heller Baird, who oversaw IBM's survey, which involved one-hour in-person interviews with 1,700 chief marketing officers. More

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