Kill the CMO + CPO

Jens Kuerschner
5 min readNov 17, 2019

This is the third and final part of a series of articles, which deal with a great misunderstanding of organizational structures within modern, tech focused startup companies.

Long story short: You do not need a CPO AND a CMO role!
In most cases, you can and should get rid of one of them — simply because of cost and efficiency.

First, my other two articles summarized.

  1. Why a modern CMO needs to be a Social Tech Guy (click to read).
    Being a tech Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) may never be about advertising only! It is about helping to develop a product that perfectly fits the respective market and tell people about it. This is Marketing, when you look at its definition (ever heard of the 4P?). Communication (and even more advertising) is only a small part of it.
    In the article, I state that most companies forgot about this and that this is the reason why the role could be replaced by a Chief Product Officer (CPO).
    Think about it!
    Doing user interviews, developing product requirements, developing a product roadmap, setting pricing strategies — this is part of a CMO’s job profile, but is nowadays often associated with the product area.
  2. Why a good Product Manager needs to know Code (click to read).
    Being a Rockstar Product Manager always includes to know code.
    Why? Because if you want to set an efficient roadmap, you need to know the implications that your plans have on the tech team and resources.
    This could even come pretty close to what an engineering manager or head of engineering or even Chief Technology Officer (CTO) does.

Putting it together

Let’s keep this in mind and have a look at the main areas a CSO, CMO, CPO, and CTO deal with.
Spoiler Alert. Even there is also an overlap of CPO and CTO as well as CSO and CMO responsibilities, I would not recommend to combine those roles in most cases. Therefore, I will focus on the CMO vs. CPO conflict.

Mind that we don’t do “how do we split the cake”, but rather look at the cake and check “how can we get it eaten with a minimal number of people”.

Jens Kuerschner

Tech Founder, Leader, End-to-End Product/Program Manager, Full-Stack Developer, Marketing and Digitalization expert. 🚀