It’s a new world out there for marketers. To help Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) cope, IBM is partnering with the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of business to create a first-of-its-kind special course.
The course, announced this week and targeted for June of next year, will run for two weeks. It is intended, the organizations said in a statement, to help “bridge the gap between traditional, digital, and data-driven marketing.” Chief Customer Officers are also invited to attend.
The partners said that “The CMO Advantage: Evolving Beyond the Digital Revolution” will explore the increasing importance of the CMO in the top executive structure of many companies.
Among other things, the CMO has become a major player in determining many corporate technology budgets. For instance, an executive of enterprise software provider Tibco recently pointed to that newly acquired budget authority of CMOs as a key driver of its new marketing platform.
Wharton professors will design the course, in collaboration with IBM senior executives. Kevin Bishop, VP of IBM’s ExperienceOne customer engagement solutions, told VentureBeat that the company expected to “put various assets into the course,” such as case histories or access to IBM research. He also said he anticipated the course will create or use computer-enabled business simulations that IBM might help implement.
An IBM spokesperson told VentureBeat that the “program is solely funded through participants’ tuition that Wharton will manage through their admissions process.”
Bishop said the course builds on IBM’s previous involvement with CMOs, including its CMO Advisory Board and CMO Council, as well as various programs where IBM marketing and other software tools have been seeded at universities around the world.
If the course is successful, he said, this academic approach is “relevant to other disciplines,” such as for Chief Operating Officers, who similarly have to accommodate the new digital world.
Proposed topics for the course include how the connected consumer is transforming marketing practices, how to make marketing organizations more nimble, and how to enhance the role and influence of the CMO.
Professor of marketing Jerry Wind told us that the participants will likely plan an “experiment” as part of the non-graded course, where they “will develop some form of experience to implement ideas.” An example, he said, might be planning a platform to deal “with empowered customers” across all touchpoints. Participants might also be asked to report back post-course on whether their experiment was implemented at their companies.
Both Bishop and Wind said that the course will deal with modern marketing principles, trends, and practices, and will not focus specifically on IBM software or approaches.
The course is limited to four dozen participants, and applications to attend will become available on October 20. The cost has not yet been announced. Teaching faculty for the course will include George Day, Geoffrey T. Boisi Professor and Professor of Marketing and Co-Director, Mack Institute for Innovation Management; David Reibstein, William Stewart Woodside Professor and Professor of Marketing; and Wind, who is also The Lauder Professor.