5 growth plays for CMOs

How can chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cers (CMOs) shift their fo­cus from notch­ing short-term gains to driv­ing long-term growth? A hand­ful of strate­gies can help mar­keters adopt a more ex­pan­sive ap­proach to their roles.

The Malta Business Weekly - - ENEWS & TECH -

Striv­ing for gains fo­cuses the CMO’s at­ten­tion on de­mand­gen­er­a­tion pro­grams and a cam­paign-driven mar­ket­ing model. While these can be ef­fec­tive foun­da­tional ac­tiv­i­ties, they typ­i­cally are lim­ited in their abil­ity to drive growth.

The CMO Coun­cil, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Deloitte, re­cently em­barked on an ini­tia­tive to in­ves­ti­gate if and how CMOs are em­brac­ing their roles as growth driv­ers. The study, “CMOs and the Spark to Drive Growth,” found that some mar­keters have adopted a fo­cus on short-term gains fu­elled by tra­di­tional ac­tiv­i­ties such as de­mand gen­er­a­tion and cam­paign-driven mar­ket­ing. Still oth­ers have em­braced a more cre­ative and en­gag­ing strat­egy fu­elled by sto­ry­telling and brand­ing. While these ac­tiv­i­ties rep­re­sent pos­i­tive progress in ex­pand­ing mar­keters’ roles and in­flu­ence, they can go only so far.

Yet the re­search also iden­ti­fied a bud­ding co­hort of mar­keters, fo­cused on long-term growth, who are help­ing drive prof­itabil­ity. In­deed, 18 per­cent of the study’s re­spon­dents in­di­cate they are “ex­tremely poised to suc­ceed” as the growth leader their or­gan­i­sa­tions ex­pect them to be.

What sets these “growth driv­ers” apart? A closer look re­veals these ex­ec­u­tives pri­ori­tise, fo­cus, and col­lab­o­rate dif­fer­ently. They have com­mon goals, man­dates, and ap­proaches that can pro­vide a play­book for mar­keters look­ing to ad­vance their own growth agen­das.

Play No. 1: De­fine the dif­fer­ence be­tween gains and growth. Many growth driv­ers not only de­fine growth—they spell out the dif­fer­ence be­tween short-term gains and longterm growth and prof­itabil­ity. Gains are short-term bursts of en­gage­ment and trans­ac­tions, typ­i­cally re­sult­ing from ef­forts such as in­di­vid­ual sales-en­able­ment pro­grams and de­mand-gen­er­a­tion cam­paigns. Longterm growth is sus­tain­able ex­pan­sion de­liv­ered through cor­po­ratewide, rev­enue-fo­cused strate­gies and de­ci­sions.

Striv­ing for gains fo­cuses the CMO’s at­ten­tion on de­mand-gen­er­a­tion pro­grams and a cam­paign-driven mar­ket­ing model. While these can be ef­fec­tive foun­da­tional ac­tiv­i­ties, they typ­i­cally are lim­ited in their abil­ity to drive growth. Growth lead­ers, by con­trast, com­monly seek to shape the land­scape ahead by iden­ti­fy­ing new prod­uct strate­gies, evolv­ing cus­tomer needs, global mar­ket ex­pan­sion, M&A vi­a­bil­ity, and other op­por­tu­ni­ties that can drive longer-term sus­tain­able rev­enue growth. They also seek to im­prove op­er­a­tional ef­fec­tive­ness and ef­fi­ciency to bet­ter man­age costs and max­imise mar­gins for prof­itabil­ity.

Play No. 2: Speak the lan­guage of the busi­ness. Be­com­ing a growth driver can re­quire CMOs to re­think the lan­guage they use to re­port re­sults back to the busi­ness. These mar­keters of­ten have shifted from more lim­ited con­ver­sa­tions about cam­paign met­rics to broader dis­cus­sions about rev­enue, mar­ket share, cus­tomer life­time value, and mar­gin.

Many of the growth driv­ers in­ter­viewed for Deloitte’s re­search ad­vise mar­keters to es­tab­lish and em­brace busi­ness met­rics— not just mar­ket­ing met­rics—to gain more solid foot­ing with se­nior lead­er­ship. For ex­am­ple, one mar­keter noted her en­tire or­gan­i­sa­tion fo­cuses on prof­itabil­ity met­rics such as cus­tomer life­time value, and puts data about the cus­tomer at the cen­tre of ev­ery busi­ness de­ci­sion. Many growth lead­ers also ad­vo­cate a one-team ap­proach, in which the busi­ness speaks, be­haves, and en­gages with cus­tomers as one en­tity and not as a mul­ti­tude of loosely con­nected parts.

Play No. 3: Con­nect across func­tional si­los. Func­tional si­los have long been high­lighted as a chal­lenge for mar­keters, block­ing ev­ery­thing from the de­vel­op­ment of an or­gan­i­sa­tion­wide cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence strat­egy to the in­te­gra­tion of com­pre­hen­sive cus­tomer data. Si­los, as some re­spon­dents point out, typ­i­cally are built out of a need to de­velop op­er­a­tional and func­tional cen­tres of ex­cel­lence. How­ever, their evo­lu­tion into im­pen­e­tra­ble fortresses of­ten has more to do with cor­po­rate cul­ture and pol­i­tics than ne­ces­sity. For many growth lead­ers, build­ing con­nec­tions across func­tional si­los is a pri­or­ity.

These si­los plague many CMO re­spon­dents, in­clud­ing the growth-driv­ing lead­ers. Ac­cord­ing to 36 per­cent of growth lead­ers and 47 per­cent of all other re­spon­dents, func­tional si­los that keep data and touch points sep­a­rated threaten to de­rail growth strate­gies. Mar­keters shouldn’t at­tempt to re­move silo walls, which can threaten func­tional stake­hold­ers and heighten a com­pany’s aver­sion to risk, ac­cord­ing to the growth-driv­ing ex­ec­u­tives sur­veyed. In­stead, these ex­ec­u­tives ac­tively build con­nec­tions, treat­ing each group as a cen­tre of func­tional and tac­ti­cal ex­cel­lence that can be in­te­grated into the over­ar­ch­ing cus­tomer strat­egy.

Play No. 4: Mo­bilise sup­port for the growth agenda. Some 71 per­cent of all mar­keters sur­veyed see the pres­i­dent or CEO as their pri­mary ally, fol­lowed by the head of sales (56 per­cent) and line-of-busi­ness lead­er­ship (38 per­cent). How­ever, growth driv­ers also see the board of di­rec­tors as a key ally, with 35 per­cent in­di­cat­ing the board is a cham­pion of growth strat­egy de­vel­op­ment, com­pared with 24 per­cent of the re­main­ing re­spon­dents. This dif­fer­ence could in­di­cate that the path to growth may be smoother for those with greater sup­port from line-of-busi­ness lead­er­ship and the board.

Many growth-driv­ing CMOs in­di­cate they are work­ing to rally cor­po­rate lead­er­ship around the cus­tomer. Half of the growth driv­ers sur­veyed be­lieve they are to­tally aligned with their cham­pi­ons and al­lies, and that these cor­po­rate power cen­tres fully sup­port their growth agenda and ac­tiv­i­ties. In con­trast, only 27 per­cent of the re­main­ing mar­keters sur­veyed in­di­cate the same. In fact, the ma­jor­ity of non­growth mar­keters be­lieve their cham­pi­ons and al­lies, though sup­port­ive of mar­ket­ing’s ef­forts, are not ac­tively in­volved in ad­vanc­ing the mar­ket­ing-de­fined growth agenda.

Part­ner­ship and, in some cases, real re­spect and friend­ship, mark the re­la­tion­ships many CMOs have forged with cross­func­tional part­ners and col­lab­o­ra­tors. Just as savvy mar­keters seek to un­der­stand their cus­tomers’ needs and ex­pec­ta­tions, growth lead­ers of­ten try to de­velop deep in­sights into what makes in­ter­nal stake­hold­ers tick.

Play No. 5: Think like a CEO—and pre­pare for the role. In the past, the ca­reer path for mar­keters typ­i­cally started in dig­i­tal, com­mu­ni­ca­tions, or brand­ing and, for those who rose through the ranks, cul­mi­nated in the CMO role. To­day, as CMOs ac­tively play the part of cus­tomer cham­pion, ex­pe­ri­ence strate­gist, and growth leader, a new and ex­cit­ing path ex­ten­sion has emerged: the CEO role.

Brands in­clud­ing McDon­ald’s, Taco Bell, Camp­bell Soup, Mercedes Benz, Gilt Group, Royal Dutch Shell, and H&R Block have or have had CEOs with pre­vi­ous mar­ket­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. The hall­mark of these ex­ec­u­tives is that, while they were pas­sion­ate about the brand, they led by un­der­stand­ing and em­brac­ing the busi­ness. These lead­ers made a crit­i­cal pivot in mind­set and strat­egy, ac­tively seek­ing out deeper knowl­edge about the pri­or­i­ties of busi­ness peers and func­tional lead­ers.

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