CMOs have a powerful job. They’re responsible for delivering a good customer experience and demonstrating the value of customer engagement. But unlike other leadership roles, there are virtually no standard revenue-linked success metrics for CMO leadership. Murky expectations breed misunderstanding of CMO purpose and performance.
As a result, top marketing executives tend to champion one of two potential focal points—campaign-driven brand development or revenue-focused demand generation—based on their experience rather than on (ill-defined) company needs. Both areas of practice are important, but without a demand generation focus, marketing “success” isn’t reflected in revenue.
Still, the mutability of the CMO role harbors opportunities. Here we’ll help you identify what kind of CMO you’re working with and how to direct their efforts more efficiently to the bottom line.
If your CMO is brand-focused, it’s not practical to expect them to become a demand generation expert.
Redirecting the Brand CMO
A brand-focused CMO’s KPIs usually focus on engagement metrics (visitors, clicks, views, likes, shares), drifting past terra firma destinations like pipeline and revenue. Uneasy questions always loom large, for them and the company: What is marketing actually worth? Why spend so much on something that cannot be directly tied to revenue?
If your CMO is brand-focused, it’s not practical to expect them to become a demand generation expert. Instead, encourage them to find partners and programs that can introduce demand generation elements to their marketing strategy. Strengthening the relationship between Marketing and Sales will be key to integrating new, revenue-focused initiatives. For instance, connecting demand generation marketing activity to sales can close the loop between leads and revenue—and thus demystify the connection between customer engagement and revenue.
The Revenue-Focused Marketing Team:
- Works with the sales team to map the buyer’s journey for your products and services
- Creates content targeted to each stage of the buyer’s journey (not just end-stage feature-and-benefit promos)
- Collects engagement metrics for each stage of the buyer’s journey, analyzes engagement to deliver the most timely, qualified leads to sales
- Follows up to learn which leads created pipeline and sales, and the reasoning behind leads that were rejected by Sales
- Creates revenue attribution models based on the results
- Reports, refines, and optimizes results for revenue performance
Get Everyone On Board to Change Course.
If your CMO is already demand-focused, their marketing success metrics are aligned with sales goals. Then it’s a matter of making a good thing better with the right strategy and support from the rest of the C-suite. But going beyond “business as usual” can create personal challenges for the brand CMO.
Like anyone who’s reached a high position in their career, they’ve invested heavily in their area of expertise. That specialty can harden into an identity, making it difficult to embrace new directions. A brand whiz who starts advocating demand generation measures they’re less familiar with may worry about losing the confidence of their team and their peers, especially since a shift in focus may take time to yield results.
Let’s examine some broad-stroke assumptions about CMOs:
- Stereotypical Brand-Focused CMO: Activity-driven, serves up “awareness” as evidence of success. Focuses resources exclusively on marcomm, advertising campaigns, PR and social media.
- Stereotypical Revenue-Focused CMO: A tech-obsessed marketer who brandishes the latest software and focuses resources on quality over quantity. Obsessed with revenue goals and sales metrics. Unusually knowledgeable about ROI.
Everyone enjoys being regarded as an expert, but no-one likes being pigeonholed. It limits opportunities and discourages collaboration, which is critical for a revenue-focused CMO who wants to create more overall value for the business. High-level support also greatly influences a CMO’s ability to branch out.
Help CMOs Make a Good Thing Better (And Share the Success):
- CEOs: Strategize with your CMO to make stronger connections between marketing and revenue. Support their efforts to introduce new programs and tools as needed, and encourage them to share demand-driven results. Empower them to seek out experienced partners to assist with a transformation towards closed-loop marketing.
- CFOs: Proactively share revenue goals and updates with your revenue-focused CMO. Work with them regularly to align marketing and revenue KPIs and metrics.
- CIOs: Collaborate more closely with your CMO. Help them use data and analytics to create more productive customer experiences. Tap them for marketing insights that can influence digital content, platforms, apps, and interfaces.
Prepare for The Long Haul.
Defining your CMO’s strategic focus could actually determine their staying power. According to Harvard Business Review, Chief Marketing Officer is the most precarious role in the C-suite: The average tenure of a CMO is only 4.1 years, compared to 8 years for CEOs and 5.1 years for CFOs. Partners like ANNUITAS can help reduce CMO turnover costs by clarifying expectations and investing in efforts to improve revenue-based marketing, putting the right people, processes, content, and technology in place to make revenue more predictable and sustainable. Let’s Connect.
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