Chief Marketing Officers can’t rub out CEOs. It’s not fair because the CEO can surely deep-six the CMO. And if you’re a marketing exec intending to remain employed, you probably shouldn’t go on the record saying you don’t trust the CEO. However, CEOs can mistrust CMOs all they like. And they do.
In fact, according to a recent report by Fournaise Marketing Group, 70% of the 1,200 CEOs interviewed in their study don’t trust marketers’ abilities to deliver growth. A majority state marketing professionals are unable to prove ROI on campaigns. Ouch.
A little more fuel for the fire.
The report also says:
- Many CEOs have marketing departments purely out of tradition.
- CEOs feel marketers “live too much in the brand, creative and social media bubble.”
- Marketers lack credibility.
Jerome Fontaine, chief tracker of the study concluded, “Marketers have to stop whining about being misunderstood by CEOs and have to start remembering that their job is to generate customer demand and to deliver performance. This is business.”
Apparently whining isn’t the answer.
Tradition? Bubbles? No cred? Them are fighting words.
Are you riled up at all? I am—and I never have or ever will be a CMO. But CMOs are my clients. Some of them have credibility, I think. Well, anyway, in my job description there’s this clause in the fine print that reads…
Make the marketing people look good.
So I say we don’t take this abuse lying down. You with me?
I say we play offense—aggressive offense. We pay supremely close attention to the details, focus on online marketing because it’s inherently measurable, and bury these whip-snapping, credibility-attacking, ROI-rapping CEOs in incontrovertible evidence proving us marketing pros aren’t just messing around with bubbles (whatever that means).
We need a plan.
For a starting point, I have just the thing, an eBook. It’s called, “The Plan to Grow Your Business with Effective Online Marketing.” Convenient, eh?
I’m not going to get into each of the 16 tactics in the eBook, but will try to list and explain several of the steps you need to take.
First and foremost: think inbound.
It’s time to seriously re-evaluate all or most of the “push” or “outbound” marketing we used growing up in an era of mass media domination. The costs are high. The risks are high. And not only is the ROI that seems to dictate our fate forever shrinking, accurately measuring it was never entirely feasible in the first place.
It’s time to do a marketing 180. The strategy is to “pull” people to your website, win their trust and guide them through the buying process. “lnbound marketing” is the name of this game.
Clearly define the objectives.
Begin with the end in mind. Precisely, what will be deemed “ROI?” It may be sales dollars over dollars invested. If so, you need to agree on everything that does or does not go into the calculation.
Of course, a great variety of objectives might be valid—website traffic, leads, subscriptions, reservations, various metrics, and so on. The point is this lack of credibility thing doesn’t sit well. Marketing programs and the professionals that run them should have objectives. Let no man or woman claim the marketing clowns aren’t getting the job done unless it’s crystal clear what “the job” is.
Get on the same page.
This is tricky territory, this online world we’re marketing in. Of course, you need to keep up with search, social, analytics, and all kinds of new services, strategies, tactics, tools and technology.
But it’s not just you that needs schooling. If you’re going to live in peace and harmony with your staff, peers, other departments, other chiefs, and above all, the chief of chiefs, you need to do some schooling. You’ll have some tough calls to make regarding who needs to know what. When the time comes for talking turkey, whether you hit or miss your numbers, everyone at the table needs to be speaking the same language.
Chief Executive optimization.
It may be your marketing department, but it’s also the company’s marketing department. This plays downstream and upstream. It’s not only unfair for the CEO to check out of all things online, it’s dangerous. Ideally, through some reasonable combination of strategy planning, content marketing, authority building, customer and media relations, the boss should play a meaningful part. For more on this, read this insightful article from marketing expert Heidi Cohen.
For number crunchers, it may be a bit less than lucid, but the social media strategy you pursue must focus on building a community. Your reach and influence will ultimately factor large in your ROI.
Grow a pair.
You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating because when committees make the marketing calls, companies tend to aim down the middle and incite next to no one. If you’re going to be held accountable for ROI, you need to target, take a stand, project a personality, march forth fearlessly and fight for the big ideas.
Social Media Explorer’s CEO Nichole Kelly literally wrote the book, “How to Measure Social Media.” Dig in. Understand the guidelines for assessing ROI in the new media space and apply them rigorously. The practice extends beyond adopting new tools.
True ROI isn’t strictly new business. It’s the result of some combination of reputation management, brand awareness, lead generation, customer retention, and increasing revenues from existing customers. Sure, marketing needs to embrace metrics, but the company at large needs to opt-into a culture of perpetual measurement and continuous improvement.
Finally, put in for a raise.
Perhaps you can cool your new compensation requirements for some reasonable period of time while the plan kicks into high productivity. But why not be optimistic? With new ROI initiatives, you’re not only stepping up to new demands, you’re demanding marketing steps up to drive sales.
It’s execution time.
The Marketing Week article I read, “70% of CEOs Have Lost Trust in Marketers,” generated a lot of reader commentary. Very few put up their guard or reacted defensively. Interestingly, most commenters claimed to not be surprised by the figures and findings. Several responded by saying it is indeed time to execute marketing programs that unquestionably boost the bottom line.
Go get ‘em, killer.