Marketing middleware: The glue connecting business strategy and marketing execution

Jeff Gourdji and Jeff Smith


Short CMO tenure has become a widely accepted fact of life. The arguments for this state are quite familiar: poor cultural fit, overly ambitious agenda, lack of productivity, change in business strategy, and no budget, to name just a few.

More often than not, there's a more fundamental issue at play, and it's one that is systemic across organizations. There's a missing piece of what we call marketing middleware— the "Intel Inside" of marketing. This middleware is the organizational marketing capability necessary for the CMO to succeed.

An organization may have strong leaders who chart a clear course and set business strategy. And it may have functional marketing capabilities to effectively drive tactical execution. But the core marketing capabilities that are responsible for the translation between the two often seem to be in disrepair. Just as in software, where middleware serves as the glue that connects applications and allows them to work together, marketing middleware enables the back and forth translation of strategy, insights, and execution.