The other day I saw a photograph of a Chief Sales & Marketing Officer manning a booth at a trade show. At first, it didn’t make much of an impression, one way or the other. But the more I thought about it, the more curious it made me.

Presuming the dude in the photo was, indeed, the CSMO (I love abbreviations), I had to wonder:

  • Should a Chief Sales & Marketing Officer be manning booth at all?
  • If not, why is he there?
  • Doesn’t anyone work for him?
  • If not, why or of whom is he the Chief?
  • Is he more in charge of sales or marketing?
  • Are all the company’s prospects at the trade show?
  • If not, who’s doing the selling and marketing while the CSMO’s at the show?
  • Are the rest of the company’s prospects chopped liver?
  • What does the CSMO’s standing in the booth suggest about the size of the company he represents?
  • Is it a large company that doesn’t need the sales or marketing right now?
  • If not, is the CSMO so adept at multi-tasking that he can sell and market while he’s manning the booth?
  • Do titles mean anything anymore?
  • If not, why don’t we just call the CSMO the Dude?

And while we’re on the subject of trade shows, how long will trade shows as we know them be around? I don’t mean to suggest all trade shows will become passé. After all, if you’re in the market for something cool like a mattress shredder, it makes sense to travel some distance to see it up close and personal. But what if you’re selling something like software or services?

Services can’t really be demonstrated. And software can be demoed on web applications like, Webex, GoToMeeting, Free Conference Calling, and others. Does it really make sense to spend tens of thousands of dollars to travel hundreds or thousands of miles to set up a booth and get flat feet standing in it for a few folks who only want to come by to squeeze your balls?

I guess that would be up to the CSMO. But I’m not sure why the Chief Sales & Marketing Officer needs to be at trade shows in the first place.

Image by purplegillian, courtesy of