The CMO, The Agency, and the Wardrobe
The following is a summary of an article I wrote for Social Media Marketing Magazine. For the full version, please visit
“What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing.” —C.S. Lewis
Just like in C.S. Lewis’ classic novel—The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe—two realities often co-exist. The reality you live in shapes your beliefs. In the marketing arena, your role is either as the marketer for an organization or an employee of a marketing, PR, or social media firm. In either position, to C.S. Lewis’ quote, you see and hear the world in very different ways. In my case, I have the blessing—and the occasional curse—to live in both worlds, as I oversee my firm’s marketing while also consulting with clients on their marketing projects.
In 1998,I joined the Ware Malcomb team and launched our marketing program. Since then, the company has expanded from 3 to 11 offices, from regional to international, and from a marketing team of one to a team of seven.
In 2005, I discovered the “wardrobe” that led me to a new reality, WM Graphics. Ware Malcomb’s graphic design studio offers marketing and graphic design services, including branding, logo design, website design, environmental graphics, and most recently, social media consulting to clients.
Leading Ware Malcomb’s marketing strategy and advising our graphics clients have given me a healthy appreciation for the challenges of both surprisingly similar—but different—worlds. Here are some tips from my adventure so far.
Tips for Agencies
- Help sell it!
- Be a chameleon
- Speak the language.
Tips for CMOs
- Become the expert.
- Develop a strategy.
- Lead like a lion, not a witch.
- Always be learning.
- Collapse the silos.
No matter what land you call home, one aspect of social media marketing remains constant: it is always changing. Just like in Narnia, sense of time is vastly different. So when working with those from another world, try to be empathetic and see things through their eyes.
“Things never happen the same way twice.” —C.S. Lewis
Have you engaged in social media? What have you learned?