The Don Draper Days are Dead

The TV show Mad Men captured something that many marketing executives longed for: simpler days where marketing was all about being creative while sitting in a room smoking cigarettes. Unfortunately, those days are long gone and only exist on TV. The advertising executives of the 50s could afford to waste half of their budget on campaigns that went nowhere. Today, marketing teams don’t have the same luxury, especially when it is much easier to measure results.

You can still see the Mad Men era remnants if you were to attend the latest Lions International Festival hosted in Cannes, France. The festival honors and awards the best advertising campaigns. The biggest brands in the world compete to showcase their creative prowess. Awards are nice, but that’s now how CMOs are being judged. It’s nice to run award-winning campaigns, but it is critical to drive growth. If you lack the latter, you won’t last long in your job.

CMOs today are held accountable to P&L KPIs such as revenue and profit. They are given large budgets and increased authority to hit them. You’re expected to contribute to the bottom line and be a significant executive team member. Who knows if Don Draper could have made it in today’s marketing world.

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