The CMO magazine website went dark last week. You may never have heard of CMO. The B2B website, which covered the marketing profession, debuted in July 2004 as a precursor to the monthly print magazine, which premiered in September of that year. I was hired as editor in chief a month before the Web launch, and it became my passion. CMO was originally conceived to cover the intersection of marketing and technology, but our team quickly expanded the editorial charter to include all of the strategic issues that dog senior marketers – C-suite alignment, career development, metrics and measurement, brand strategy, new media, the ever-elusive customer and, yes, technology. Readers loved it: “HBR meets Wired,” said one; “CMO has replaced The Economist as my preferred [bathroom] reading,” said another (I am not making this up).
Advertisers, however, didn’t get it, despite the best efforts of our sales team. Nor did several senior members of our parent company, IDG, who quickly lost patience with our three-year plan and pressured the new CEO of our business unit to pull the plug this past January. Sixteen print issues, a half-dozen major Web and print editorial and design awards, and boom, boom, out went the lights. The web site had stayed up for the past several months, housing the archives but no new content, providing no real reason for readers to keep coming back. You could almost see the virtual tumbleweeds rolling through the abandoned streets of what was, for a short time, a vibrant brand with an incredibly loyal readership.
Which ultimately led me here, to Magnosticism, because I have nothing better to do with my time now. I can only hope to build as fervent and vocal a following for this site as the one we developed with CMO.