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  • Writer's pictureMark Olivito

Failure To ACT on The Sea Change Guarantees Obsolescence

Key Words:

  • Sea Change: A profound or notable transformation

  • Obsolescence: The state, process, or condition of becoming obsolete

Rarely is it hard to recognize the Sea Change. Often times however, people refuse to personally act, despite the risks of inaction, which are often times Obsolescence, or irrelevancy.

Mark Fidelman wrote a fascinating piece in Business Insider in ’11 that caught my eye relative to this topic, profiling the the top marketing executives in the Fortune 100, and their personal use of social media. What did he find?

  • Only 15 of the 143 CMO’s and Chief Communication Executives (CCO’s) in the Fortune 100 had active Twitter Accounts.

  • Worse, 15% of them have a net zero social footprint (meaning no social activity).

“US marketers will spend $3.08 billion to advertise on social networking sites this year,” according to eMarketer. “Spending will be up 55% over the $1.99 billion advertisers devoted to social networks in 2010 and will rise by a further 27.7% next year to reach nearly $4 billion.” Here’s the Question: How can a functional leader have leadership credibility with zero hands-on experience?I am a believer in leaders getting Dirt under their nails vs. having great “corporate polish”. Translation: Have some deep operating experience in the area you are leading. Don’t let agencies or third party “experts” steer the ship. Scrape your knees PERSONALLY. Form an opinion from some level of work in the discipline. Social Media is no different. It is simply mind-boggling how marketing leaders are personally NOT active in Social, yet the $’s are moving on-line following the eyeballs at a rapid pace. North of 80% of the top Fortune 100 not personally invested? Give me a break! One could argue that hiring the right talent under the functional leader and that will take care of the business expertise needed to successfully integrate the discipline. I understand that argument, but I don’t buy it. CFO’s that have “closed the books” slogging away at journal entries at some point in their career are simply more in tune to the trials and tribulations of the accounting staffs they oversee than “hired guns” without the dirt under their nails. Maybe a reach of an analogy but you get the point. Take a look at the infographic below profiling 20 Socially active Marketing leaders of the Fortune 100. Think about the personal characteristics they MAY possess as compared to the majority that have not jumped in to learn the new space. Does it not seem obvious that:

  • They are more astute evaluating the marketing mix decisions than their counterparts who are NOT personally invested?

  • That their “Hustle Factor” may be slightly stronger than their counterparts that have not stepped up to learn?

  • Wonder what the CEO’s of the below group are thinking? They are either thankful, OR they expect it.

  • As for the CEO’s of the other group that is sitting on the sidelines? Not sure, but would it not be reasonable to think they are scratching their head?

Small businesses everywhere should view these stats as nothing but opportunity. It is flat out hard to compete with 800lb. Gorillas. One thing is usually true when it comes to the Fortune 500/800 lb. Gorillas.

  • They tend to move slow. They sit on the fence and observe.

  • They Ponder. They Think. They Re-Think.

Meanwhile, the small start-ups Hustle. They scratch and claw and find a way to stand out. Not staying on top of “sea changes” in your career function is a sure fire way to skill irrelevancy. Maybe not over the next few years, but over time it will creep in and become harder to overcome against people that don’t fight the sea change. If you have a “fortress personal balance sheet” (Translation: Don’t need the $’s), ignore this advice. Don’t worry about Hustling to catch up. Fight the Sea Change and the market place will eventually tap you on the shoulder….


Top CMO’s on Twitter, published and updated monthly by Social Media Marketing Magazine

This Company Will Only Accept ‘Twitter Resumes’ For A Six-Figure Job.

A great article by Vala Afshar, and a brilliant CMO/CCO that everyone should follow.

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Jan 28, 2023
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