The Gap between CMO and COO

The Gap between CMO and COO Season 3 Leverage Your Spark

Modern organizations typically find themselves with a leader of operations, usually a chief operating officer (COO), and a leader of marketing, either a vice president of marketing or chief marketing officer (CMO). That’s great, except there seems to be a growing gap between the two roles as technology and marketing evolve. What is the gap between CMO and COO, what challenges does the gap present, and how can you best bridge that gap before someone falls into the void?

Listen to Season 3: Episode 10

The Introduction of Technology into Organizational Structure

Dividing up roles and responsibilities inside an organization used to be fairly straightforward. There was finance, HR, sales, operations, and marketing. Yeah, pretty basic, straightforward. And then technology had to come along and trample all over everything.

When technology entered the conversation and started mixing things up, organizations then needed an information technology department. And that was usually under operations, which was fine until it wasn’t, and everybody else in the organization started requiring technology and needing their own version of technology.

Marketing has become one of the most demanding divisions for technology. Questions such as where the choice for the CRM system gets made have made roles ambiguous. Is that the vice president of sales? Or is that the CIO? How do we decide who runs all the technology and do we really have to submit a help desk ticket if something on the website breaks?

The Issue of the Gap between CMO and COO

Fielding the gap between CMO and COO has become quite painful for organizations that are trying to be flexible, move quickly, capitalize on market opportunities, and stay abreast of all the different channels and evolving distribution for marketing.

The whole point of putting somebody in charge of a department is so decisions can get made, people can be empowered, and stuff can get done.

The biggest challenge is when rules either overlap or there’s a gap. Marketing operations helps to fill the gap between CMO and COO by being the team that knows and can run the machine that marketing needs.

Could Marketing Operations be the Solution?

Is your organization experiencing these pains? Typically, it’s pretty obvious, at least to the marketing team, if things are breaking, additional technology is needed, or there’s no ability to scale to deliver on the objectives the marketing team has been handed. On the operational side, if the IT team is getting asked to do things outside of their purview, these are also indications that marketing operations is needed.

Examining the systems and who’s responsible for them and assessing the success of that setup can help you understand if you have the right functions in place, or if you might need to add marketing operations.

When we can be aware of the shifting landscape of functions and help the organization continuously refine, redefine, and update rules and definitions, then people in those roles will have the authority and resources they need to best do their jobs and better impact customers and, ultimately, the bottom line.

Need Help Bridging Your Company’s Gaps?

It sucks when projects or tasks get held up due to access issues, or the team just doesn’t know where to go to get something updated. Avoid this problem by getting all your website info in one place. I’ve developed a Quick Reference Template that puts all the technical details for your website, from domain host to website platform access, in one place. Grab your free Website Quick Reference Template at

In our next episode, it’s story time. We’ll examine the dilemma of choosing a website builder and how you might make the best choice for your company.

Leave a Comment