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Should CMO stand for cheap marketing officer?

I’m cheap. There. I said it. Some people don’t like the word cheap. They’d rather be frugal or thrifty. Not me. Those are $2 words when a ten-cent word like cheap fits me just fine. I don’t spend money on anything unless I think it’s important. And. more and more, I think this is how we need to approach marketing. Gone are the days of big marketing budgets. I don’t advise clients to spend lots of money–certainly not on advertising, but not on anything else either, unless they know why it is important. I want to inaugurate the era of the Cheap Marketing Officer.

I don’t mean to pick on anyone who doesn’t agree with me. I have nothing against big budgets. Or heavy advertising. I know many people who are really good at that stuff. It just isn’t my strength. And most of my clients hire me because they really need to cut the budget but they don’t want to cut sales. They want to do the same (or more) business that they have always done, but they don’t want to spend so much. That’s when you need the Cheap Marketing Officer.

Photo credit: Images_of_Money

I don’t think marketing must be expensive. Digital marketing can be targeted to just the people you want to reach and can be tested to death, so that you come up with just the right message. You’ll know it’s right because you actually sell things.

I especially enjoy working with B2B marketers. Not only do their companies have no background in digital marketing–they usually don’t have much history of any kind of marketing. They don’t have a CMO because marketing has been such a backwater that it doesn’t need a Chief anything. That’s when you really need a Cheap Marketing Officer.

Sometimes people use the word cheap to mean stingy–someone who doesn’t spend on even the right things, but I don’t mean it that way. I just believe that we need to create a new marketing culture in those companies where marketing was never important because no one knew it was important. Now that it can be done cheaply, it is as important as everything else that leads to a sale.

So, how about you? Are you finding that you need to cut costs and find new ways to drive business with the same old budget? If so, does the head of your marketing team know the ways to be cheap without being stingy? Does your team cut the fat but not the meat? Do you even know when something is working? Instead of complaining about budget cuts, let’s embrace them and find new ways to succeed with less. Because it can be done.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is a Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also served as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website,, most recently as the Manager of Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He was a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research and is now a Senior Fellow of The Conference Board. A Certified Speaking Professional, Mike regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide

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