Marketing: A new Team Sport

Giselle has hit it on the head.  In today’s marketing not one person can wrap their arms entirely around all the new functions of marketing and be the overall expert you need a team, and it is the ability of the CMO to build a team that works together and holds responsibility for the role that they perform in the company.   It takes new tactics and it takes a new style of leadership to be highly efficient in todays marketing arena. 



Study: Marketing Is A Lot Like Soccer


by Giselle Abramovich 
Senior & Strategic Editor


The days of chief marketers calling the shots within the marketing department are over, according to “The Changing Role Of The CMO,” a new study by Vivaldi Partners. Instead, they must loosen their reigns and trust that their team will do their jobs correctly.


“We developed an analogy for the changing role of the CMO,” said Erich Joachimsthaler, CEO of Vivaldi. “The old-school, communications-expert CMO is a lot like American football, while the new breed of CMOs is more comparable to the game of soccer. With the American football team, there is one superstar: the quarterback. He’s the one calling the shots, and he is the one with all the pretty girls chasing him. He decides which plays in the playbook the rest of the team will use.”

But that metaphor doesn’t apply to the modern marketing landscape. “Moving on to soccer, where there is a team of 11 players, and no real hero or playbook–that is what the CMO function should be,” Joachimsthaler told “The new CMO can’t possibly know everything and call all of the shots. Marketing is more of a team effort than ever before.”

The Vivaldi report is based on in-depth interviews with 50 CMOs. Its implication: The CMO’s job is to encourage those 11 soccer players–their marketing teams. It’s all about “agile management,” Joachimsthaler said. In a football game, the team makes the play, the clock stops, and then the next play is decided by the quarterback. In soccer, however, decisions are made on the fly, and the clock never stops. Marketing should emulate the latter.

“There is no playbook in soccer, just like there is no playbook in marketing,” Joachimsthaler said.

His advice to CMOs is to hire the right people, and leave them to call the shots; after all, they’re the ones directly involved in the marketing game, with a view of the “field” that no one else has.

“The new breed of CMOs needs to be able to build a team of all the critical functions that make up marketing today,” Joachimsthaler said. “All the CMO really needs is a good sense of the business side. The rest is up to the marketing team.”

Click here for the full study.




About Giselle Abramovich

Giselle Abramovich is senior & strategic editor at

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