“If I’m not driving growth then I don’t know why I really exist,” says Alison Lewis, global CMO at Johnson & Johnson. It’s a bold statement, and not one that every marketer would agree with. But with a growing number of businesses scrapping the CMO title in favour of a chief growth officer it’s an issue that is on the agenda of every marketing boss.
“To me it’s a positioning thing because of course my role is to drive growth. I always say I want more people to use our products more often. It’s that simple. If you interpret marketing as a fluff word and think it’s just all the over the top stuff I think you’re absolutely wrong.”
While Lewis – a former Coke marketer and Johnson & Johnson’s first consumer CMO – is fairly sceptical of the shift, she can understand why some businesses might choose to make the move, particularly if they are trying to rally a business around a new idea.
“For organisations that need to say ‘the world is different and this is where we’re going’ then sometimes a repositioning makes it clear to people what their role is,” she says, talking to Marketing Week during the Cannes Lions Festival.
I am a big believer that symbolic leadership is sometimes as important as actual leadership.
Alison Lewis, Johnson & Johnson
When Lewis was CMO for North America at Coke she reported into Joe Tripodi, who held the role of chief marketing and commercial officer and so was also responsible for the global commercial function.
“I do chuckle because it’s actually the same [set up] they have today. But I understand organisations that need to drive a mindset change have to…