Meet today’s CMO: Multisport athlete
Thanks to martech, the CMO's role is dramatically shifting. Columnist Sonjoy Ganguly shares tips for how you can train and win in today's hypercompetitive marketing landscape.
The CMO’s role has been continuously evolving. The sheer volume and the speed of access to information have prompted a shift in B2B purchasing behaviors. With new channels and platforms regularly entering the landscape, the underlying technologies have evolved to follow an increasingly complex buyer journey and assist marketers doing business every day in the cross-channel environment.
Marketing technology is now indispensable to the CMO. The explosion of data and technology providers — enabled by the combination of the internet and cloud-based solutions — was supposed to solve the problems for today’s CMOs. Yet, in perhaps the greatest wake-up call for the competitive CMO’s career, we’re seeing a greater focus on revenue that requires a multidisciplinary approach to thrive in today’s competitive landscape.
Get out your cross-trainers! To deliver and win in today’s environment, the CMO must be a sales strategist as well as a media, advertising, content, data, product and technology expert.
The CMO is the multisport athlete inside the enterprise. Bo Jackson had only two professional sports under his belt. Forget “Bo Knows.” In marketing, it’s “Your CMO Knows.” The CMO of today exemplifies the business world’s equivalent of the ultimate multisport life.
Let’s start on the field with sales.
Developing a simpatico relationship for sales & marketing
An increased focus on revenue requires multiple disciplines working together. You can’t drive revenue unless these disciplines are better aligned to focus on performance.
The relationship between sales and marketing has always been key, but it’s now more critical than ever before. The complexity of today’s marketplace, and a shared understanding of what the B2B buyer is navigating, requires an even greater level of collaboration and compassion between the two.
If we lower the barricades on what has often felt like internal fiefdoms, we can easily see a shared challenge when it comes to impacting revenue. A simpatico relationship is a must. From the CMO’s vantage point, here are some things to consider as you aim to build a relationship with sales and truly understand each other’s perspective to achieve joint success.
• Feet on the street, ear to the ground: The feedback loop between sales and marketing may not be intact. It’s worth spending the time internally to set up a means for sharing feedback, between those facing the market and the client and those carefully monitoring and optimizing the journey from exposure to ultimate conversation.
Don’t just provide reports and analytics. Today’s CMO knows that to be effective, he or she must be hosting data-driven discussions with sales to arm them with market, media and account intelligence and help develop a more personalized sales approach to impact the pipeline.
• Leads, leads, leads: Often, marketing assumes that their job is done once they hand the leads over to sales. This is outdated thinking in the era of Account-Based Marketing (ABM).
As you work to gauge what channels, content and messages are working with sales’ prospects, you may also need to educate and share your marketing expertise on what you’ve seen work with different buyer personas. This allows for smarter marketing and more consultative selling all at once.
• Shared onus: The seller’s sale today is both consensus-based and consultative. Increasingly, the sales team is expected (and it behooves them) to strategically advise and educate prospects.
It’s just as critical to continue to engage multiple decision-makers inside their target accounts throughout the journey to influence that consensus sale. The marketing strategy, plan, messaging and content assets must all play into that reality.
The CMO’s journey to ad tech expertise
As a CMO embraces a higher-quality, more collaborative sales and marketing relationship, it’s important to continue one’s own education when it comes to the tools of the trade. This open approach to learning starts with embracing ad tech by accepting the evolution of digital channels and platforms, along with an integrated strategy and media activation process.
Having a “digital” sensibility alone is not enough. An integrated planning and activation strategy is even more valuable. This includes knowing how to leverage native, mobile, video, social, programmatic, content syndication and any number of proven tech-enabled formats and options. This is especially true when it comes to activating your most valuable asset to engage and nurture prospects: content.
The modern vehicles for marketing communications now include content marketing
The formerly tried and (somewhat) true B2B marketing tactics of yesterday — including print, email, and in more modern times, social and strategic blogging — have been replaced by a more robust descendant. Today, digital tactics can be activated via media activation platforms and marketing automation systems to deliver targeted influential, persuasive thought leadership in a multimedia play.
The new mix of assets includes everything from video to white papers to other types of dynamic content sequencing to appeal to the decision-makers at your target accounts at the right time and the right place.
Living in an data-driven economy
If you are a chief marketer today, data has a permanent place in your arsenal. At a base level, rich data sources assist with targeting, audience modeling and campaign optimization for greater efficiency and stronger outcomes.
At a deeper level, data analytics can help inform product development. This involves multiple data sources and requires working with multiple data providers, or finding a partner that can take on that heavy lifting and unify that data for you.
Greater still, a commitment to developing data expertise — and all the key internal relationships that go along with this — positions you to confidently avail yourself of the best that today’s marketing automation has to offer.
Along with all the data partners at play, there are even more marketing technology and media partners involved than ever before. This is at the heart of what’s driving the complexity of today’s CMO’s job.
Today, being a tech-savvy CMO simply gets you on the field. Your willingness to suit up and train mind and muscle across disciplines, leveraging the best of martech, arms sales and marketing, and the company as a whole, to do better business — and for the win.