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State of the world insight for today’s 10X’er CMO

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What does my firm do?  In most cases, we are The Trusted Partner hired to come in as The Clean Up crew for a failing CMO. This means the CMO most likely is underperforming. They are not properly tied to sales & revenue. Maybe the firms’ mission has changed with the times & technology and Marketing has been left in the dust. Or even worse, The C’s don’t respect them enough to get them a seat at the table.

The CMO of the now vs. 2, 5, 10 years ago:

Velocity and how fast can we move from the bottom to the top (this related to product, revenue, conversion and brand-building if not in already in place)

The CMO’s campaigns are about not only “putting pressure” on the Decision Maker BUT the others who have influence in the decision as well

There are so many complicated variables but the CMO of today is someone who should always be looking and learning

CMO’s job is not as straightforward as in the past

CMO’s handle and is attached to all the numbers related to performance marketing,  and revenue while being married to Sales Leadership or the CRO

CMO’s need to be data driven in all aspects of their daily performance

CMO’s should develop a central dashboard or build a data warehouse to better serve revenue streams and always talk to the end user; the customer

This is not the under-connected CMO of yesterday who was just focused around brand.  The brands in most all cases have already been solidified

The CMO is now becoming the hub of where customers, prospects, and renewals make all their decisions

CMO is responsible for being the leader in the communications process (internal and external)

One of our candidates, a former CMO at Skyworld took the Team to an agile platform and made sure everyone, company-wide was using the same tools – he introduced this to the entire company and rolled it out from an operational and educational aspect.  Here this CMO took leadership tools and systems automation to make marketing operate better

Thought leadership needs to be dynamic and the CMO needs to have the ability to elevate everyone around them; this is the CMO of today

Content Marketing and the CMO

How do you become that CMO who truly distinguishes themselves from others?

First, you are a Content Machine

Content has a long run, long life through the marketing funnel

Content is like wine and gets better with age

The CMO needs to be deep into what are the leads on return and consistently having a plan to optimize; never settle

Second, you know how to create awareness within a variety of channels

Remember that PR basically originated inbound marketing

And while Social media takes over the brands now, PR is at the root of brand perception

A CMO who is current will have PR strategy down firm

New Hires, New Talent, New procedures are great ways to build content

PR is able to focus on internal evangelists as well to build content

The CMO will remember that PR is able to add to the content juice for SEO

So much content is irrelevant; having the right message at the right time is a must

Blogs need to be supported by podcasts, video and similar channels

Video is understated in the experience of some CMO’s; the best real-time video reality to builds great content quickly

For example, Brightcove uses a ton of video – the video doesn’t have to be hyper-produced as well but serves its purpose

Video is a great way to become subject matter experts in the eyes of your customer

Again, the CMO should come to bat with innovative strategies on using video to develop a firm market stance

Timing as well; the successful CMO will have focused of course on the customer – but also when to deliver the right message, to the right people

The CMO wants to be the first one out in the market with opinion leading content (remember the shelf life of a fine wine from earlier…?)

As an innovative, current valued CMO you want to be viewed as an expert and opinion leader in one

Also, you can quickly assess the problem, fix it and build a better wheel

CMO and The Product 

Great Branding + Shitty Product =’s a Mess

CMO will last only 2-4 years

Their shelf lives are short

CMO’s needs to be willing to admit who won and lost; if the product is moving faster then the CMO can work; leave.  If the product is moving slower then the CMO can work; leave.

CMO will own demand generation for the product and will own their own marketability in the workplace with the success of the product

Sales always want something new; a new story, a new differential, etc.  Sales should be focused on selling and the CMO should be focused on reacting & supporting their need

CMO needs to push the path to the best product release along with knowing what’s worthy of release

Again, a CMO should be a great product support and of course an expert in the space

The CMO will finesse the story

The CMO will help Product with their build and leap frog strategies to be viewed so the Product and Firm will be a Thought Leader

As a Thought Leader themselves, the CMO will bring the products back from a seemingly unknown and develop a great package

Performance marketing and demand generation is at the heart of all these efforts; meaning every campaign the CMO installs needs to be channel tested, proven and consistently improved upon and driving demand

While the CEO might give you the directive on SEM, SEO, Facebook, and other channels it’s of course accompanied with a cost issue

If the cost of the CEO’s plan is $1M you need to know what’s expected for delivery for $15k…and how you can make an impact using those tools with adherence to a budget

Like it or not, you can do A/B Testing with a minimal $15k spend. Geo-targeted testing, of course, SEO and similar to meet a shoestring budget

The CMO will only work with a microcosm of branding; the rest is supported by efforts to increase sales revenue strategy and continued demand generation builds

Screw the branding costs if you don’t convert and sell

What is The Board looking for when hiring a CMO?

BOD is looking for results and new customers; simple.

The Board will look for a CMO who can handle a budget. Develop great relationships with Finance and of course have a history of delivering results.

  1. The CMO’s resume should be packed with leading the Firm on the education of the brand and make sure all employees are engaged
  2. Additionally, The CMO needs to be experienced on getting customers engaged and know they have made the right choice to buy
  3. And finally that Prospects are accurately communicated with; this includes prospects who even just touched the site

The CMO’s ever-changing job description:

A great CMO knows when to write checks $ and build the story

The success of the CMO is based upon building a demand generation program early for the future

The CMO needs to worry about the marketplace and performance

A great CMO will own the truth (the truth here is intelligence; they need to know data)

CMO is accountable and needs to create a metrics for success and for everyone to use

Data warehousing based marketing is always a great way to get a leg up and make smart, educated decisions

The CMO will offer Product thought leadership

The CMO is ever changing

This is not a one size fits all role anymore

The CMO needs to foster a Team and make the firm feel like they are a unified part of revenue, mission, and strategy

The CMO needs to have respect for the CRO and Sales

More than likely the Sales Team was in place prior to the CMO joining

The CMO needs to work non-stop on building bridges

Supporting Sales is job one

The perfect CMO will be humble and willing to fall on a sword from a past legacy (with a plan for improvement and to gain back any lost trust)

CMO must always be attached to revenue vs. the brand

The CMO is not the average Marketer anymore – they are involved with e-Com, Direct & Indirect, and most all other channels

The CMO understands channel AND product

The CMO must understand the promotion along will not solve a sales lead problem

The CMO needs to be so married to Sales they understand universally what’s needed to generate sales

A great CMO will know how to generate leads and offer several channels for both contact and lead follow up

The JD has changed so much that an effective CMO will have carried a bag before and sold.  They should have picked up a phone to a prospect

There needs to be a degree of empathy by the CMO towards to Sales process

Former HubSpot CMO mentioned paving the way for growth by partnering with Finance; showing ROI on spends and testing to support the additional spend

This person as CMO turned  $34m in revenue to $84M quickly by getting the CFO’s buy-in to fund

No doubt, Finance had her managing the budget to the penny

Then there are Events.  Being an opinion leader in your space; of course, Events is one of the fastest ways to build credibility and be front & center with your audience

CMO’s need to write – think about both content and copy

An IT audience is NOT going to want to read content with exclamation points

Final Thoughts:

CMO is the intermediary of all the departments of the firm and creates the well-oiled machine – from the call center to customer support to revenue generation.

The CMO is a prime stakeholder guide in the success of the product  (the Product Team are coming up with stories and the CMO has the polish to execute)

Something interesting to keep in mind is that Facebook describes their Top Engineers as 10X’ers.  These are people who can basically do 10 times of what’s expected in their job; they are the core of efficiency and eliminate all extra steps to do their job better, faster and with the best results.  They are highly sought after unicorns.  This is an exclusive club.  Now, translate those same attributes into Marketing, If this is your mode of operation as a CMO; then you are my first call.



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