Coke Removes CMO Role: What it Means for the Digital Marketing Landscape (Part 1)

This year, one of the biggest digital stories to shock the global business community is the shakeup at corporate giant Coca-Cola Company. For the marketing landscape in particular, Coke made waves when it decided to remove the role of the Chief Marketing Officer, until recently held by marketing legend Marcos de Quinto.

As one of the top corporations in the world, Coke is likely to influence millions of other companies across the globe with this move, which clearly presents the trajectory of marketing in today’s age. What can it mean for today’s marketing professionals?

Pundits are quick to note that de Quinto was among the rare voices in the industry to push against bigger digital spending, claiming that the space is under-delivering on its promises, and might be an overrated domain.

Time will tell whether he is right, or whether he judged the channel too early, and from the framework of someone who is simplyused to the old ways. In particular, de Quinto insisted the continuing dominance of TV when it comes to delivering ROI, citing figures to support his argument.He said that every dollar spent on TV generates $2.13, while only $1.26 comes from every dollar of digital spend.

However, there is another angle here that must be looked at: is it possible that Coke’s digital marketing strategies are the problem, and not the domain itself? As years pass, we know that more customers are using digital platforms to connect with brands, and it is a foolish marketer who would choose not to respond to this pattern. Small and/or new companies, in particular, find digital to be the more accessible and affordable platform, and with unlimited space for all brands, too – as opposed to TV and other traditional media, which tend to favor the more established names, have requirements regarding length, content, and costs, and offer lock-out options.

Too, this new space should not be considered a replacement for these old avenues, which did take many decades to develop. As in any business decision, it is going to be a matter of the expectations set by the company when they start a marketing campaign, and when dealing with something new, these expectations should be adjusted.

But the bottom line is, digital is here to stay, and embracing it is a must – whether by a small family restaurant, or a big company like Coca Cola.

Check out the next entry for more on this topic.