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  • Debbie Schwake

The Powerful Force Behind the Organization: Keeping up with the CMO

Updated: Feb 27, 2021

"The best CMOs are mini-CEOs in training who are functional in their current positions and have a point of view on other topics that will help the business." Aaron Baar, writer, Deloitte Insights for CMOs.

In marketing, personas are the key element to understanding the motivations of your buyer, whether alone or as part of the buying committee.

The role of a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) has to do a lot with increasing the value of the organization and for its customers through marketing. In order to do this, creating and communicating must be at the forefront of their skill set.

Let's dig deeper into the key motivations of the head of marketing, the CMO.

As a CMO, you should:

Drive customer intimacy and encourage loyalty/advocacy.

There are countless benefits to having loyal customers. Customer retention means business growth and minimizing service cost - it could even go so far as to reduce marketing costs. Whether a CMO focuses on the small stuff, like thank you emails and regular customer touches, or the big stuff, like a complete product revamp or loyalty programs, everything matters.

Marketers know well that it costs more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing customer. “A lot of companies focus on the old notion that it costs 5x more to get a new customer, but in doing so, they lose focus on what really matters—connecting with customers and delivering value - now and in the future,” according to Forbes.

At an increasing rate, CMO’s now oversee an organization’s customer service mainly because the value of customers is an important brand initiative.

Measure and prove marketing ROI and contribution to revenue.

Any organization will undoubtedly spend a good amount of funds on marketing communications, but it’s up to the CMO to make sure that money is being used wisely. Since a CMO is an expert in marketing, they make sure a company’s marketing tactics are working via ROI analysis.

Additionally, the move of marketers toward revenue reporting and accountability is not slowing down. Marketers are invited to the executive table and the board of directors now more than ever, particularly those that understand how marketing contributes to the organization’s revenue performance.

Build alignment with sales.

Marketing and sales should be like a happy couple that know each other well. Instead of functioning as two separate entities, the organization as a whole will function at a higher rate when the two work symbiotically.

Another recent development, alignment between sales and marketing is getting better. This is especially true for organizations and leaders that understand how complementary the two roles are. In many companies, the areas that were formerly contentious between the two departments - lead source credit and compensation differences - have now been leveled or eliminated and a new revenue team has been formed.

Improve marketing credibility for the organization.

In order to boost sales, it’s important for marketers to boost the trust present between themselves and their customers. When you boost trust, you boost influence. Studies show that a good chunk of consumers do not trust marketers, and it’s the CMO’s job to make sure that the customers of their organization don’t fall into that category. The bottom line of building this trust is based entirely in honesty and ethical marketing.

A great CMO will help sales and the entire organization recognize and know when to tell a customer that their products or services are not a fit. And further, the best organizations carry on very transparent communications with their customers.

Manage and leverage the growing complexity of changing buyer behaviors, channels, and technologies.

It is hard to imagine another profession that changes more rapidly than marketing. With consumers’ efforts to always stay one step ahead of sales and marketing, it’s no surprise that this constantly changing landscape of best practices is so complex.

To keep up with the ever-changing minds of the consumers, a CMO must leverage their customers’ insights. This involves tactics like reinforcing new positive beliefs, shaping and sustaining new habits, aligning messages to customer mindsets, and analyzing customer behaviors.

A good CMO must understand a company’s customer base, marketing tactics, and how those two concepts fit together to create a high-functioning organization that works like a well-oiled machine.

And further, the CMO must navigate and manage the multitude of available resources - from specialty roles, to agencies and freelance or contractor partners, to thousands and thousands of technology platforms. 8000 total in 2020 according to Chiefmartec.

Putting it all together

Holding the primary responsibility for the brand, communications, customer relationships, and market position is no small task. And at the same time, many CMO’s still strive for the credibility enjoyed by other members of the C-suite. It seems the arts and crafts party planning stigma still exists for so many of these talented leaders.

CMO’s want to be seen as credible and be taken seriously. They know more about consumer behavior and communication than any other member of the team because they study both continually. They are masters of the tech stack that runs their organization and allows them to scale their activities, even with budgets that are always under fire.

And don’t underestimate the multitude of specialities they are responsible for. While at one time direct mail and email may have looked like similar projects, today something that sounds as simple as SEO or Google AdWords are actually specialty positions that have associated ongoing learning and certifications.

The bottom line for the CMO is to respect the depth and breadth of knowledge required to drive a company’s demand, protect the company’s reputation, and grow revenue. I’m likely very biased because I am a CMO; but I will say the good ones are a force to be reckoned with.

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