The Insights Blog

The “CMO Must See Call”: building better proxies & getting better work

The “CMO Must See Call”: building better proxies & getting better work

must see

Your agency is working on an important new campaign. The objective is clear and the business need is important. The client has completed and shared new research into the target audience’s behaviors, needs and wants. The client team prepared and delivered a strong briefing session. The agency has developed an insightful creative brief. The agency has had follow up meetings with the client team to ensure everyone is aligned. Draft concepts have been shared with the client’s marketing team and the client marketing team has given their feedback. The agency has responded to the feedback, revised the work, and is finally ready to present to the CMO.

The big presentation happens! Drum roll…. and the CMO does not share their team’s or the agency’s enthusiasm for the work. One month has been lost; the timelines are now in jeopardy; the agency team is demoralized; and hundreds of hours and dollars of agency time have been burned without airable work.

There has to be a better way!

CMOs Need Effective Proxies

In most marketing operations the CMO does not need to see every ad or communications tactic that airs. There simply is too much work and there are too many other pressing issues for the CMO to be involved at that level. However, there are core efforts that need the CMO’s buy-in and involvement like new campaign ideas, major broadcast work, and significant investment decisions. Of course, if the CMO has developed effective proxies for themselves, the risk of misalignment is significantly reduced (see our article on effective proxies here). These proxies are team members that are effective stand-ins for the CMO or senior agency leader. They are execs that share the same vision and judgement as the senior leader.

But what can a CMO do if they are still developing an effective team of proxies?

The “CMO Must See Call”

The “CMO Must See Call” is a routine creative review call with agency, the CMO and all other client levels in attendance. New creative is shared and the agency gets the entire client team’s feedback. A quick break and client huddle prior to delivering the feedback can make this an especially helpful exercise both at delivering clear feedback as well as effectively keeping the agency on track. This process reduces rework and costs; less experienced client team members enhance their creative evaluation skills; and more effective proxies for the CMO are developed.

Effective Proxies & The CMO Must See Call

It’s easy to know when a senior leader has effective proxies. Things move briskly! There is little rework; few wasted cycles; happy teams; and productive agencies.

It’s also easy to know when there are not effective proxies. Is there a ton of rework? Little agility? Unhappy staff? Underperforming agencies? All of these can be symptoms of a bigger problem – the lack of effective proxies for the CMO or senior agency exec.

The CMO Must See Call is a technique that can help develop better proxies, enhance agency productivity and deliver better results.

Steve Boehler, founder, and partner at Mercer Island Group has led consulting teams on behalf of clients as diverse as Zillow Group, Microsoft, UScellular, Nintendo, Ulta Beauty, Stop & Shop, Qualcomm, Brooks Running, and numerous others. He founded MIG after serving as a division president in a Fortune 100 when he was only 32. Earlier in his career, Steve Boehler cut his teeth with a decade in Brand Management at Procter & Gamble, leading brands like Tide, Pringles, and Jif.