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An Empty Seat at the Table

By Peter Radizeski, RAD-INFO

Marketing guru and author Seth Godin wrote a blog post in January 2005 about “The myth of the CMO.

“I feel sorry for Judy Verses. She’s the Chief Marketing Officer of Verizon, a brand that is justifiably reviled by millions of people.

“Is Verizon disdained, mistrusted and avoided because Judy’s not doing a great job? Of course not. She’s doing a great job.

“The reason we hate Verizon is they act like a monopoly, have ridiculous policies, a lousy call center, a bad attitude, plenty of outbound phone spam and crazy pricing. We hate Verizon because of all the things Judy doesn’t get to influence or control.


“The myth of the CMO is the C part. They don’t get to be the chief of the stuff that is really what marketing is all about today. CAO, maybe (Chief Advertising Officer) but not CMO.


“If I were the CMO of Verizon, I’d fix the call centers. I’d fire people with a lousy attitude who aren’t afraid to share it with a customer. I’d reward the great ones (like the installer who came to my new office last week) and figure out how to get every one of their thousands of people to understand that THEY are the marketing department. And I’d shut down the outbound phone spam center immediately.


“Until that happens, the CEO is the CMO, no matter what the title says.”

This has trickled into the channel.

In my own experience, I have dealt with many fine folks at BellSouth (now AT&T) over the last seven years some whom were there for more than 20 years (when it was AT&T the first time) and truly cared about the customer.

Then walls were built that prevented these people from actually helping the customer. The employee could only see a piece not the whole puzzle to solve problems. This situation was compounded with sales quotas and sales customer bases that changed frequently disconnecting both the sales people and the customers.

This isn’t true only of AT&T though. This is what happens throughout telecom with both carriers and agents. Don’t believe me? Have a frank discussion with your customers, your partners, your employees. (That’s MBA 101 get feedback to fix stuff). If you don’t want to hear the hard truth, then you probably know it is broken and don’t care to fix it.

When there are panel discussions at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, we like to see the executives of our carriers up there. Why? Not so we can take shots at them. Its because when the vice president of a carriers indirect channel is on the dais, we know that he or she will at least LISTEN. And that’s a start.

If you are an ILEC Channel vice president? Call PHONE+ today to fill the panel at the New Jersey event, or we may just have an empty chair with your name on it.

Peter Radizeski is president of RAD-INFO. He can be reached at

peter@rad-info.net

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