Changes and New Opportunities

Well there are always changes!  A few weeks ago I left my position at Westcon Group, transitioning to an excellent new CMO, Bob Clinton, who will take the company to a whole new level in its marketing efforts.

There are a couple of things I have learned along the way that I wanted to share:

1/ The average life expectancy of a CMO is the shortest of all of the CxO positions – on average about 28 months (not sure where this came from but every CMO I know believes it!).   This is NOT a bad thing – it means that unless the CMO is continually delivering new and innovative ideas for growing revenue, increasing customer count and driving sales productivity he needs to step aside and let someone else get the chance…..and this doesn’t mean it’s over – it means that the CMO needs to rethink and refocus his ideas on something new.

2/ Branding is regarded by many as a particularly difficult science – in fact the biggest issues that I have encountered in any kind of branding work is the word “like”.  Driving a branding effort in between the pitfalls and mines of the sales organization is more difficult than ANY decision process on look, message, value prop, brand equity assessment etc etc etc.  In fact my attempts at rebranding have fallen into two categories:

– small incremental changes to a good core branding strategy that no-one notices

– radical simplification of high level branding to the point where the accountants say things like ” is that it?” and “I hope we didn’t pay much for that”.  In my experience those are the ones that get adopted instantly and with little or no resistance – as soon as someone says ” I don’t get it!” that should be the warning sign!

3/ Web stuff is hard to do right especially if done by an internal IT organization.  In fact other than hosting and security, my advice would be get it out of the hands of IT.   They have fundamentally different ideas and measurements that that are worried about.  They also tend to worry about technology… let them.  No point getting into a contest on that – and use their skills ruthlessly – security, SEO, hosting – all are useful areas to work with IT.  Make sure you keep the rest!

There are lots of other thoughts but I am sitting in a very nice hotel in Sweden, with an excellent Pinot Noir and a waiter hovering with the menu so……watch this space……and thanks for reading.


  1. Duncan has played a pivotal role in developing our marketing strategy to brand ourselves as the first port of call for resellers trying to succeed in the complex advanced technology space. The next step for us is to find ways to exploit the new digital and social interaction marketing space. Thanks for the huge value you have added and we wish you the best for your future old chap!

    1. Thank you for the comment. It was always a pleasure to work with you and the team. I will miss you all, even Bruce!

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