You’d be surprised to know that last week, the quintessential marketing company, Coca Cola, has…. wait for it…decided to “ditch” the role of Chief Marketing Officer.

According to the influential Marketing Week website:

“Coca-Cola is getting rid of its global chief marketing officer function by merging it with ‘customer and commercial leadership as well as strategy’ to create a new ‘chief growth officer’ role.”

Now let’s take that slowly…

The Chief Marketing Officer is getting replaced by a combined role that involves Marketing, Customer, Commercial Leadership (whatever that means) and Strategy. So, pardon me, but that sounds a lot like the role of the CEO, apart from not having to go on commercial roadshows or take the final bullet when the nonsense hits the fan.

This brings me to the famous management guru Peter Drucker who said: “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two – and only two – basic functions: marketing and innovation.”

So, let’s combine the news from Coca Cola with the quote from Peter Drucker: it seems as if marketing is so intrinsic to doing business that some are even dropping the stand-alone marketing function!

It’s happened to me often that I would wrap up a consulting engagement with a client and then ask them for a short testimonial and they would say: “it’s been great, but we see you more as a business consultant.” At first it puzzled me, but now I understand. Marketing and business live very close together.

Think about it: marketing has traditionally been broken down in the 4Ps of Product, Price, Place and Promotion. Now, if anyone can get those four right: a great product that customers love, at the right price, distributed to the right place and promoted correctly – do you agree with me that sounds pretty much like a successful business?

Don’t confuse marketing communications, with market orientation. The first is how we advertise, the second is how we align the company to serve the customer – the bedrock of strategic marketing.

All of this highlights another critical point: that you, the business owner is – IS!!!!- the Chief Marketing Officer of your company. Stop looking to someone else to come and do your marketing. Apart from the most mundane, administrative tasks, marketing is your job!

Because being focused on the customer, is the purpose of a business!