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MARKETING ROLES

FMCG giant Unilever ditches its Chief Marketing Officer position

By our News Team | 2022

An evolving global marketing landscape is bringing with it a change to the way CMOs of the future must operate.

As the world changes, so too must the role of the CMO. And an increasing change of pace means an evolving change in responsibility. 

Peter Fisk, a global marketing and business thought leader, noted in a blog post in late 2021 that “Marketers should be stepping up to drive strategy, innovation and change across the organisation. If not them, then who?”

At Unilever, one of the world’s biggest FMCG businesses, the evolution of that Chief Marketing Officer role has become apparent. So apparent that, as of April 2022, the CMO job no longer exists.

Instead, reports the industry publication Adweek, the company’s most senior marketer, Conny Braams, has been appointed as its first Chief Digital and Commercial Officer to reflect the “blurring lines” between digital marketing and commerce.

Marketing Roles

Photo by Cottonbro from Pexels

“It doesn’t mean we’re dropping marketing. It means we’re adding sales,” Braams told Adweek in an interview. This, the publication says, is the result of changes to global consumer behaviour, which was reconfigured for digital following Covid-19.

Head a new team of category marketing leads

In her updated role, Braams will guide a newly formed team of category marketing leads across segments including nutrition and beauty.

“The convergence that’s been happening in media, entertainment and shopping channels has driven us to rethink what the core of marketing and sales really is. We can now build brands and convert sales at the same time, so why would [we] artificially split that?” she explained.

But while the rapid shift to an online marketing focus in many countries does bring positives, there are still challenges that need to be met in the online landscape, Braams cautioned. These challenges include brand safety, ad fraud and declining consumer trust.

“We need a shift in mindset, from solving problems to preventing problems. We need to act so we don’t react. Prevent before we need to treat. Foresight instead of hindsight,” she said. “This technology revolution must be accompanied by the development of substantial new ethical infrastructures and policies. The internet without trust is scandal.”

You can read the full Adweek article here.

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