As the CEO, your perception of Marketing is critical for your Marketing team to secure the resources and funding it needs to help your business succeed. At VisionEdge Marketing, we noticed that some marketers do a better job than others of earning the C-Suite, specifically, the CEO, as their champion. We wanted to know what these marketers do to gain this recognition, which is why we asked a series of question in our 15th annual Marketing Performance Management (MPM) benchmark study around this very topic. What did we learn? We learned that indeed, CEOs are more likely to support a specific group of Marketers over others. In particular, those marketers who make the cut are the ones that are able to connect the dots between the work of Marketing and the world of business.
What sets these marketers apart? When we compared the data and ratings for the highest and lowest performers in each segment, we were able to determine with statistical validity that there are four functional areas that help these marketers gain their CEO as a champion: knowledge of the business, the use of data to demonstrate business acumen, credibility, and relevance. At first blush, these findings seem rather obvious. Yet, only about one in four Marketing organizations demonstrate proficiency in these four areas.
How You, as the CEO, Can Empower Marketing
As CEO, you are no stranger to directing the course of your organizations within your company. Therefore, since Marketing is key component of your business, sometimes Marketing may need a little guidance from you. How can you lend a hand? Here are three things you can do to help your Marketer’s become stronger members on your leadership team.
- Expose Marketing to all aspects of the business. Every marketer we’ve ever met wants their company to succeed. As such, it’s easy for Marketers to move into the “doing Marketing” mode. Since they are often eager to successfully complete their tasks, sometimes they dive in without fully understanding the implications of their actions. Whether because they are limited on time or resources, a large number of marketers seem to have a “check the box” approach. “I need to finish x and y, so I can move on to z.” What these marketers are missing is why they are doing x, y, and z. It is up to you, as the business leader, to make it clear that everything a Marketer does on behalf of company, should be tied to a business outcome. To make this connection, marketers need to be clued into a company’s business vision, priorities, and strategy. Your marketers need to clearly understand what constitutes success and how their role contributes to accomplishing this success. When you bring your Marketing team into the business discussion, your Marketing personnel can more easily see and take advantage of opportunities, as well as manage potential pitfalls. When your Marketers understand the businesses, they will be more able to create value for them..
- Expect Marketing to be customer-centric. Marketing, in all its forms (marketing communication, product marketing, strategic marketing, corporate marketing, field marketing, solution marketing, customer marketing, and so on) is the only organization with the word “market” in its title. Therefore let your team know that you rely on them to understand your organization’s customers, to share accurate, timely customer insights, and to help the organization use these insights to gain a competitive advantage. After all, your marketers don’t market to buckets of revenue. They market to customers. Marketing’s essential purpose is to find, keep, and grow the value of these customers. Tie Marketing’s success to the value they create for your company and employ metrics that are customer-centric.
- Encourage Marketing to be data-analytics-insights driven. Without a doubt, data and analytics have become central to every organization’s business strategy. In his book, Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning, Tom Davenport claims that successful companies are the ones who have strong analytics capabilities. For you and your business to be successful, your marketers must be proficient at using data and analytics to make strategic decisions, improve marketing effectiveness, make course adjustments, and improve operational efficiency. Consequently, make sure your marketers have access to the data and skills needed to perform analytics and build models. Think about it, every day you and your leadership team need to be able to make effective, strategic business decisions. If Marketers have the data and analytics tools and skills they need available, then they can bring relevant valuable insights to the table – the decision making table.
You are investing a substantial amount of your company’s resources – time, money and talent – in finding, keeping, and growing the value of your customers as you make your way to market dominance. You need your Marketing organization to be an engine for your growth. And your Marketing organization needs you to be their champion.