CMOs are often faced with an overwhelming amount of shiny new toys when they step into their role — marketing automation platforms, ABM tools, website personalization, the list goes on. But regardless of where they place their efforts, CEOs and CFOs often look at marketing and ask: What is the bottom-line contribution?
If CMO contributions are not observable in terms of ROI, the CMO may eventually vacate their position. Then, a new CMO comes on board, and the cycle starts again.
Lee Hackett sees it all the time. It’s what keeps him up at night, and it’s part of the reason he started Bluprint in 2013, where they help CMOs and marketing leadership maximize their investments in marketing technologies.
With 25 years in marketing, Lee has a lot to say about how marketing leaders can tie their hard work to the bottom line of the company to not only validate their position, but earn the recognition as a major asset.
Lee joined us on The B2B Revenue Acceleration Podcast, and we captured all the highlights below:
CEOs want ROI. They demand it. They may make an initial investment into marketing, into redesigning a website or signing off on a marketing automation platform, but if they can’t tie that investment to ROI, they will lose interest and doubt the CMO.
CMOs must shift their mentality from a siloed measurement of tactics only. Measuring website traffic or how many people came to an event is putting too much emphasis on the tactics themselves, not on the actual results.
Ultimately, the marketing department must align with the other sectors of the business, particularly sales. Otherwise, marketing will spend plenty of time gaining more traffic, increasing MQLs, having more conversations, showing up at more events … and these all may be increasing marketing KPIs, but the question will still linger:
Are any of these marketing efforts really moving the needle?
It’s easy for marketers to get distracted. There are plenty of investments being made into marketing, and there is no shortage of “shiny new toys” CMOs and digital teams can purchase.
Many of these technologies (marketing automation platforms, for example) come with the pretext that they will really shift the needle. In reality, many of these technologies do little to nothing to move the bottom line.
If CMOs desire true effectiveness in their organization, their goals have to be aligned with the organization’s overall strategy.
A good CMO should start their efforts with being tied to revenue. Lee says that CMOs should go to the CEO and CFO, and request:
“I want to be tied to the bottom line, and I want the power to impact it.”
This is usually a tremendous mental shift, especially for enterprise-level companies, and may require some organizational change.
To achieve bottom-line results, there are no magic tactics, Lee said. Every business will have different forms of revenue generation, demand generation, content syndication, ABM strategies, etc, in their particular segment.
The performance of marketing is based less on the tactics, and more on the consistency of the approach, and whether or not the goals are aligned with sales.
When there is a combined sales funnel, agreed-on methods of working leads or accounts, and a uniform measurement, tactics matter less than the fundamentals of consistency and alignment.
The importance of alignment is especially important when it comes to attribution.
Often, organizations have relatively accurate attribution at the top, but measurement becomes more difficult throughout the funnel. Salespeople often don’t put pipeline into salesforce or in their CRS, or marketing and sales have different metrics.
Until the sales and marketing teams align on attribution and metrics, there will always be a diminishing effect of any tactics or strategies implemented by marketing.
You’re probably thinking “this sounds a lot like ABM.” Yes, it does — but it doesn’t only apply to ABM. It applies to the underlying thinking about the mission and strategies of marketing and sales.
To wrap up:
1. CMOs (and all marketing leaders) must limit the distraction shiny new toys can bring.
2. CMOs must align their KPIs to the bottom line of the industry.
3. Consistency in approach and alignment with sales are more important than the tactics themselves.
4. CMOs must link with sales to tackle attribution alignment.
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