Did Starbucks really ditch their CMO role?

Don't believe the media hype. Marketing power in fact increased at Starbucks.

Did Starbucks really ditch their CMO role?
Photo by June Andrei George / Unsplash

Starbucks eliminates CMO role screams the trade press, in this case Marketing Week. Marketers worldwide meltdown, lamenting the demise of the role, again.

Au contraire. Very brief post today about a lost opportunity to celebrate increased marketing influence at Starbucks.

  1. The title might be gone but CMO Brady Brewer is now CEO international. Why the marketing community is not celebrating this is perplexing. It's not like Mr Brewer will forget how marketing works strategically or tactically in his new gig.
  2. Starbucks is creating new role of "ceo, North America," filled by Michael Conway who according to Starbucks has "deep experience in strategic planning and operational excellence, as well as support building our brand and culture around the world."
  3. Starbucks is also adding new marketing roles:
    1. "Lyne Castonguay will join in the newly created position of evp, chief merchant and product officer, (and) will oversee a newly created global function focused on product strategy, developing new products and growth platforms."
    2. "Starbucks intends to soon appoint a global brand creative leader," which looks like marketing to me.

Okay, semantically the CMO role is gone. But the idea that Starbucks eliminated the CMO function is patently ridiculous. Doesn't make such a great media headline though.

Here's the media release on Starbucks investor relations site announcing the increase in marketing power within the organization.