We’re all eager to be buyer-centric in our organizations, but where are the buyer-focused titles? I mean, think about it. A standard marketing team will include at least a few folks, all with job titles about demand gen, product marketing, ABM, etc.

Have you ever taken a moment to consider why that is, and what message it sends - internally and externally? And, what gaps it leaves? Here’s more about how our titles should start reflecting our priorities.

The “typical” marketing organization & how to upgrade it

The idea for this post originated from an increasingly well-known Forbes article by Kimberly Whitler, all about the transition of the CMO to Chief Market Officer instead of Chief MarketING Officer. The reasons are good; I won’t belabor the point. Go read the article.

It made me think, If the CMO title is misleading, what other titles are setting the wrong expectations?

Let’s start by looking at how this problem manifests. The following is a sample list of titles you’d find within an average marketing department at a high-growth company, along with what the job entails. With each one, I’ll suggest a different title idea that encapsulates more of what that position actually does and presents it in a buyer-centric way.

Chief Revenue Officer

  • What they do: They are in charge of an organization’s revenue streams, setting the vision for both sales and marketing in driving growth.
  • How they help customers: By aligning sales and marketing, CROs ultimately improve the customer experience and improve the value customers receive, as well as the revenue value the business earns from them.
  • Improved title: Chief Lifetime Value Officer

VP of Marketing

  • What they do: This person leads the marketing department and helps set marketing strategies for their team to execute.
  • How they help customers: VPs of Marketing use customer insights to shape their marketing strategies so they better reach and serve customers how they want to be served.
  • Improved title: VP of Buyer Engagement

Director of Product Marketing

  • What they do: They understand the company’s products, and produce the right messaging and marketing materials to be used to promote them and educate customers about them.
  • How they help customers: They ensure the product features are meeting the needs of customers and that customers understand how to leverage the tool.
  • Improved title: Customer Value Manager

Demand Generation Manager

  • What they do: They coordinate between inbound tactics and the spend in those various channels.
  • How they help customers: They drive awareness for a problem their buyer is facing,  and offer a solution for it.
  • Improved title: Solution Awareness Manager

Field Marketing Manager

  • What they do: They coordinate in the market activities with sales.
  • How they help customers: They ensure customers have a regionalized experience with the brand.
  • Improved title: Customer Experience Curator

Revenue Strategy Manager, Pricing

  • What they do: Based on the current title, doesn’t it sound like their job is to take more money from customers? In actuality, that’s kind of what they do but…
  • How they help customers: They work to provide the most value to customers for a fair price.
  • Improved title: Customer Value Manager (and if you want to tack “Pricing” on the end of this, so be it)

Head of Marketing Automation

  • What they do: They create scale and efficiency for marketing functions, primarily around campaigning and data management.
  • How they help customers: By maintaining an accurate record of the customer, interactions can be more meaningful, relevant and save the customer time and money throughout their journey.
  • Improved title: Head of Customer Lifecycle

Just theory, or actually practical?

It was a fun exercise to go through and reimagine these typical jobs, but you may be asking, “How practical is this?” A cursory search of my LinkedIn found that I already have a few 1st-degree connections with lifecycle managers. And a job search returned a few open positions to which people can apply.

I never expected to find a customer value manager, but there, right on Indeed, Coupa Software has a job description for it: with all the cornerstones of what I’d want to see in such a role. Maybe this isn’t such a crazy idea?

Where does your business stand?

Remember that a title is much more than just the couple of words you slap on your door or display in your email signature. Your job title actually tells your team members and customers what you do every day, and what matters to your company. Redefining your job titles and shaping them to be truly buyer-centric is one of the first steps in actually being so.

So, where does your business stand?

Are you telling your team that knowing your buyer is priority numero uno, but then retaining teams whose titles and roles have nothing to do with fulfilling that priority?

Or are you recognizing the real importance of knowing your buyer, and truly prioritizing that through how you staff and present your team?

If you get on board with the latter, you’ll be in good company with the highest performing organizations out there. It’s time to make the switch.