Under the Subject line "Notice of Online Survey of Higher Ed CMOs", I got an email last week from someone who described herself as the Chief Marketing Officer of the Chronicle of Higher Education. It began like this:
The Chronicle of Higher Education has partnered with SimpsonScarborough, a higher education market research firm, to study the organization and operations of the marketing unit within higher education institutions. The purpose of this study is to better understand marketing budgeting, staffing structure, responsibilities and priorities at higher education institutions.
And the next day, the Director of Project Strategy at SimpsonScarborough sent me a note, under the Subject line "Online Survey of Higher Ed CMOs", that started this way:
The Chronicle of Higher Education and SimpsonScarborough, a higher education marketing company, would like to invite you to participate in an important online survey of higher ed chief marketing officers. The purpose of this study is to better understand the role and influence of marketing in higher education including budgeting, staffing structure, responsibilities and priorities at higher education institutions.
These messages — and the follow-up nudges — puzzled me for two reasons. First, I was not aware that "higher education institutions" routinely had "chief marketing officers". At Penn, the Wharton School apparently has a CMO, but as far as I can tell, neither the university as a whole nor other schools do. So maybe colleges and universities really should have CMOs, but my second reason for being puzzled by these messages is that I'm pretty sure that I'm not one. I mean, I do my best to follow Taoist management practices, but I like to keep track of which responsibilities I'm fulfilling by creative non-action.
Maybe the Chronicle just sent these message to all its subscribers, in the hopes that those who happen to be CMOs will respond.
Anyhow, all of this left me with a meta-question: for how many (and which) values of X is CXO defined? In addition to the most common ones (CEO, CFO, CIO, COO, etc.), a quick web search turned up 5 interpretations of CAO and 3 of CBO — without even getting into the jokes like Chief Beer Officer:
|A||Chief Academic Officer|
|A||Chief Accounting Officer|
|A||Chief Administrative Officer|
|A||Chief Analytics Officer|
|A||Chief Acquisition Officer|
|B||Chief Brand Officer|
|B||Chief Brokerage Officer|
|B||Chief Business Officer|
What are your favorites?