- There’s often a gap in C-level business leaders’ understanding about what marketing can and should be doing
- CMOs should establish strong alignment with the chief sales and product executives
- Today’s CMOs also need to be a general manager and reposition marketing to get a seat at the table
Perceptions of marketing are often clouded by historical viewpoints and individuals’ experiences at firms where marketing was focused on a limited set of difficult-to-measure activities such as communications, event management and sales support. Common misperceptions include viewing marketing as a creative function that makes pretty brochures and ads; as a support function that coordinates events and helps sales; as a cost center that spends money without fiscal responsibility; and as a slush fund, where budgets can be cut without significant impacts to the business. Marketing needs to be repositioned as a strategic function with a seat at the planning table. Here are 10 ways to accomplish this goal:
- Educate the C-suite about factors driving changes in marketing. Over the last decade, the presence of Web, digital and social information access has driven profound changes in the buyer’s and customer’s journey and the measurability of marketing. These changes have necessitated a massive evolution in B2B marketing. Often, however, there’s a gap in C-level business leaders’ understanding about what marketing can and should be doing today. It’s therefore incumbent upon CMOs to market internally to change these outdated perceptions. The CMO and his or her staff need to reposition the new marketing agenda and the meaningful impacts on corporate results that high-performance marketing organizations can make with strong cross-functional alignment.
- Develop a strong relationship with the CFO. Need an ally at budget time? Want someone who can help measure marketing ROI and model assumptions? Make your CFO your new best friend.
- Establish strong alignment with the chief sales and product executives. Because buyers and customers have so much access to information and need to be served the right content at the right time, it is critical for sales, marketing and product groups to be aligned around customer needs. Develop and reinforce strong service-level agreements to make this happen.
- Discuss and agree on key growth pillars, the playbook for each, and resultant business priorities. This alignment is key to driving growth and is lacking in so many organizations. Pick three priorities where the organization will focus and excel.
- Understand the buyer’s and customer’s journeys, digital and human-to-human touchpoints, and what information is needed and when. Capture and analyze the digital and human footprints for your buyers and customers to understand what distinguishes a won vs. a lost deal.
- Convert big data into smart data. Leverage data analytics to understand how to grow new logos and existing customers, and how to optimize your demand waterfalls.
- Understand that growth is not just about new logos. Usually, organizations can grow much faster by leveraging existing customer relationships where the firm’s value is already felt. Marketing can and should help accelerate upsell and cross-sell.
- Be the cross-functional customer advocate. Implement a robust measurement system like Net Promoter Score to capture and act on customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction.
- Create a cross-functional dashboard that focuses on marketing impacts on the business aligned with overall corporate goals. This is what the C-suite executive wants to see, and you should develop the metrics collaboratively with him or her. Be completely transparent on successes and areas for improvement. Be sure to also create internal marketing dashboards that focus on marketing process initiatives, including tactics, program families, outputs and impacts to continuously monitor and improve.
- No more selfies! It’s about the customer – not your products and services. Develop robust annual campaigns focused on customer pain points and the information they need, when they need it. Cut out the unused 70 percent of your product materials and save money in the process. This will drive more ROI and make your sales reps and CFO much happier.
What does all this mean? To be successful, today’s CMO needs to be a general manager and reposition marketing to get a seat at the table and amp up marketing in the process.