Expert's Panel

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    What is the difference between strategic marketing and the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) responsibilities and how do you control a CTO?

  1. In an ideal world the CTO would be a resource. Often, however, he thinks he is the senior marketing person. The solution is to use the MRS process. If you show up with the right set of what the market requirements are and force the CTO into a reactive position relative to your MRS, you will be in control. If you are not that smart, knowledgeable or personally powerful, and the CTO is smarter, more knowledgeable and powerful, you won't control him.
  2. In some cases - with some significant equipment companies being an example - the CTO has been the strategic marketing executive. Sometimes strategic marketing is done by someone who doesn't have the title, but has a strategic view of the world, and that may be the right answer. But controlling the CTO - good luck.
  3. Controlling a CTO is like controlling a 14-foot Louisiana alligator. Two things to do is limit his space and speak to him from a distance. The CTO often goes out and wants to invent something and he's busy creating technology. The marketing person says the market needs the new product to be this way. There lies the classic case between marketing and the CTO. If you have set up a system in your company (the MRS) to identify what the customer needs and you document it, along with the reasons why it says what it does, you are now credible. Once the alligator reads that he has no good excuse to say he's going to invent something else. I have seen 3 situations where the CTO got it properly documented from marketing and didn't follow the guidance. In all three cases he ended up out of work.