Should digital marketing teams report to CMO? We are a financial services company that is launching an online broking platform. Our CMO does not have deep experience in digital marketing although he is quite good otherwise. So far we only had an agency who was doing social media management for us but now we are setting up a full-fledged digital marketing team. Should this be a separate department altogether? Who should it report to?

Answered by Meeta Malhotra

This is a hotly debated question Srikant, with no easy answer, at least in the short-term. Long-term, the answer is unequivocal. Your digital marketing team MUST report to either your CMO or your Sales head. The biggest mistake you can make is to create marketing silos that in turn, deliver a fragmented brand story. Do not sacrifice long-term sustainability to short-term growth.

So what’s is the best thing to do in your (fairly common) situation? This is my advice:

  1. Have a frank talk with your CMO / Sales head and tell him that you want him to oversee the digital team but there is a learning curve involved that will require him to invest time and energy.
  2. Implant one smart person from your traditional marketing team in the digital team so he/she can share the overall marketing strategy with them
  3. Make sure the digital team has an owner who understands his /her KRAs and have them report directly to the Business Head initially, with a dotted line reporting to the CMO / Sales head. Make it clear that is only a transition to help a new initiative settle down. Have the CMO / Sales head fully involved in all decision-making.

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