Introducing the Portfolio CMO, Part 1 of 3

I am a Marketing Consultant, Marketing Generalist, and Portfolio CMO specializing in small and micro businesses. Unfortunately, one of my job titles — Portfolio CMO — doesn’t exist; not at Google, not at Linkedin, not on job-sites.

This presents a bit of a problem for those of us who are Portfolio CMO’s, as we fervently believe we exist.

It is also a problem for small and micro businesses, because some of them could benefit greatly from hiring us.

Simply put:

Portfolio Career + CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) = a Portfolio CMO.

A Portfolio Career of ANY sort is a salaried employee who brings a full career of “the buck stops here”  management (marketing management in this case) on behalf of an employer on a salaried part-time basis. It brings consistent management to a companies’ long-term marketing efforts.

To further introduce the term and validate its meaning, let’s contrast it to other titles, in particular the ubiquitous “Marketing Consultant” and “Marketing Generalist.” Further, as I have appropriately worn the hat for all three titles, for three small companies, performing three different jobs, I will illustrate how the titles overlap and diverge.

But first, let’s review the need.

Small and Micro businesses, including entrepreneurs and start-ups, need marketing help,

  • because they are expert at their product or service, but not at sales or marketing
  • because even if the CEO can sell “ice to Eskimo’s,” they may not understand how to create an effective strategy/campaign for mass or targeted awareness
  • because they don’t have significant marketing budgets.

Even if a Small or Micro business has a key player with good marketing intuition, they may lack the skill-set to create long-term strategy (based on customer focus, competitor position, and trend research) or tactics (such as SEO, Video, Social, Legacy). Conventional wisdom holds that businesses who need marketing help should call upon a Marketing Consultant or Marketing Generalist. While this is true, as you’ll see, each, at its core, is suited to different situations.


Example 1: Marketing Consulting for a small oriental rug company

I was contacted by a small oriental rug company in Chicago. A family business, where there is no CMO, CBO, VP-Marketing, etc. Marketing responsibilities are shared; decisions made by the owners.

Their situation was quite simple. They had the OPPORTUNITY to gain market awareness through a high-profile and respected celebrity event. Their STRATEGY was to create awareness and interest by launching the celebrities video on their homepage. But their RESULTS were being thwarted because of a conflict between their IT and Design teams. My task, as a Marketing Consultant, was to discover the “truth” behind the conflict, and recommend solutions.

I called in my key experts in the interwoven fields of web video streaming, web management and web design. Together, we were able to discover that both the IT and Design teams were telling “the truth” from within their own bubble. The problem was that the IT team, for understandable security reasons, was laying down restrictions that were thwarting the Designers normal execution of site tests – incomplete tests were leading to errors. As a third party, we were able to convince IT to relent; Design fixed the problems, and the site began to function as hoped.

Now, it is true that the client’s strategy gave me pause – I strongly believed they needed a major SEO/Social Media campaign, coordinated with the celebrity. I pointed out these opportunities. Tactically, we executed a handful of “while we’re in here” design and video streaming changes. But in-depth focus on a narrowly defined assignment is what a good consultant does.

I did NOT apply the versatile skills of a Marketing Generalist, nor take on the fiduciary responsibilities of a Portfolio CMO. But in the next two blogs, I will contrast these roles, as a Marketing Generalist for a 2-person auto service shop and concluding with my role as a Portfolio CMO for a small distributor.

Stay tuned!

Craig Sinard is a Portfolio CMO, Marketing Generalist and Marketing Consultant, depending on client needs. He creates strategies to put brands and positions in harmony. He also has deep experience in video production, web and virtual reality.

©2019 Craig Sinard