Business Leader First, Artisan Second?

06 Aug Business Leader First, Artisan Second?

 

Since its inception in the 1980s, the role of the CMO has been constantly shifting. Now faced with digitalisation and all that comes with it: big data, granular visibility of metrics, tech-governed CX, and AI, the role is undergoing its greatest evolution yet. The recent Kite Club dinner in London delved both into this change and into the transformation taking place across the C-Suite.

Our Speaker

Coming from a strong academic background, Margaret holds an MBA with a concentration in Marketing from the University of Houston and a BSC in Liberal Arts from Southern Methodist University. Her self-professed specialties include strategy development, product marketing, planning, life cycle management, P&L optimisation, CXO level customer interface, integrated marketing, brand management, marketing and sales programmes.

 

Has hyper-measurability changed how we view marketing?

One of marketing’s forefathers, John Wanamaker, is attributed to the quote, “Half the money I spend on advertising is waste; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” Given that Wanamaker passed away in 1922, the legacy of his quote is a testament to its usefulness.

However, with the rate of change currently being experienced in the marketing department and CMO, is Wanamaker’s observation becoming redundant?

As our speaker put it, the problem now facing marketers is the inverse to Wanamaker’s. “As senior marketeers, we cannot ask for budget without giving returns – and measurement is the only way to demonstrate return.”

“Every customer is hyper-connected, every customer wants a hyper-personalised experience, but they also have a hyper-secure expectation over privacy – and we have to harness tech to deliver all of that.  If we are using tech, we have the capability to measure everything.”

Conceding that her perspective is shaped by working for a very metric-oriented organisation, Margaret continued “it’s in our DNA” making clear that, “what gets measured, gets funded”.

 

The tension between short-term goals and long-term vision

 

A pain felt by many marketers is the tension between the need to deliver short-term results and the longer-term requirements of vision and relevance. Margaret made the point that this is felt more keenly by B2B marketers than B2C marketers, chalking it up to the differences in sales cycles between the two.

Given the lengthy sales cycles most B2B tech marketers are dealing with, the best approach to addressing the challenge of relevance is measurement. “We have to drive value to the business every day,” Margaret went on to say.

This emergence of this metric-focused approach to marketing is a common experience for marketers, with another guest agreeing, “We are hugely metric-driven…We have drum-beat marketing that is always on, and Machiavellian marketing going on under the radar that they don’t need to know about until it works…but I spend hours of my week working on metrics. I can’t help feeling that the time it takes me to tick the metric box would be better spent as a marketer.”

In response to this problem Margaret posed a possible solution to the demands of metrics on marketers’ time is having two separate teams within the marketing department. The first being the creative or artisanal marketeers and the second being a team focused on enumerations.

This suggestion was posed given the need for somebody in the C-Suite to have a strong customer focus. “The roles across the whole C-Suite are changing. IT is no longer a support function. We need to focus on what we do best and then partner to get the outcome the CEO wants.”

The distinctions between the two departments should be seen as an invitation to collaborate in order to create further value. “We can use technology to create an even better customer experience – but who will define that customer experience? When we work together, we can create greater partnerships.”

 

Step zero

 

There are two starkly different skillsets at use in the marketing and IT departments. For CMOs and marketers, understanding the customer, the customer experience and value creation take centre stage. Meanwhile for CIO’s and IT departments, operational savviness and an understanding of the technology are most important.

However, these distinctions should be an invitation to collaborate in order to create further value. “We can use technology to create an even better customer experience – but who will define that customer experience? When we work together, we can create greater partnerships.”

In theory that sounds rather simple. However, the question which emerges is, how do we bridge that gap between marketing and IT? The answer may be that there is a step zero, which needs to happen before any project begins

To this, our speaker asserted that a ‘step zero’ needs to take place before a project begins. “The CIO team don’t even really know what marketing does. Before project engagement, there’s a step that needs to take place that I think of as ‘step zero.’ This is where we explain what we do, what’s our expertise, what we need to leverage.”

We can better glue the marketing and IT teams together if we take the time up-front to think about what we expect our partners to bring to the table and how we bridge the gap between expectations.

The two very different skillsets at use in the marketing and IT departments. For CMOs and marketers, understanding the customer, the customer experience and value creation take centre stage. Meanwhile for CIO’s and IT departments, operational savviness and an understanding of the technology are most important.

One of our guests testified to this: “IT understands the technology, the legacy, the skills – the ‘how you’re going to get there’.  But it can’t articulate the business use case; to know where you want to get. These are the two parts of the equation and without either part it’s useless.”

However, these distinctions should be an invitation to collaborate in order to create further value. “We can use technology to create an even better customer experience – but who will define that customer experience? When we work together, we can create greater partnerships.”

 

The sales pipeline

 

Not only can the IT and marketing departments experience a tension as a result of divergent aims and skillsets, so too can sales and marketing. There is clearly a need for sales and marketing to have the same metrics and targets, and to achieve them together.

Presenting her own methodology as a solution our speaker gave two crucial metrics for measuring value:

  • Measurement of the new business pipeline: qualified leads passed to                  sales per quarter. 
  • An engagement metric by individual.

 

 

“When dealing with smaller commercial and mid-market customers, the first metric is important. However, in larger deals the second metric is the only feasible measurement. For really big customers, new pipeline generation is unmeasurable, so individual engagement is an important second metric.” Having the second metric enables the marketing department to take the conversation about that relationship to sales and say, “This person has engaged with us three times this month, but your rep still hasn’t visited.”

Additionally, with the mega-transformational deals, there’s no point engaging in the pipeline conversation with sales. Instead, it’s more productive to talk about how relationship engagement in that account takes place.

These can help to offset the frustrations that arise as a result of the lengthy cycles B2B marketers can have to deal with. Another guest agreed in acknowledging that problem. Admitting the 12-18-month sales cycles where things move at a glacial pace and there are significant churn and changing requirements gave him a “chronology problem.”

 

How marketing and sales can collaborate on relationship engagement

 

 

Margaret explained that relationship engagement can happen outside the sales process – the living measurement follows the individual and lasts for a lifetime.

An interesting view presented was that engagement needs to be carried out continuously by marketing on an individual basis, as opposed to being restricted to leads presented by sales. “The living measurement follows the individual and lasts for a lifetime,” Margaret explained.

A surprising view the discussion unearthed was, not only does engagement need to follow the individual as they move from company to company but this can lead to better engagement than usual. In fact, one guest claimed, “some of the best engagement we’ve had is when people are between jobs, because then the engagement is authentic.”

Moreover, it was agreed around the table, a CIO at a big company will likely show up somewhere else but unlikely to show up in the sales pipeline because sales aren’t interested.

Marketing must, therefore, nurture the relationship. This goes for the whole way through the sales process as well. “If marketing is responsible for understanding the customer experience, and showing how that translates into sales, we have to look at how we are helping sales take it all the way.

If we consider the stages of how relationships develop – from withdrawal, ritualistic interactions through pastimes, gaming and, finally, reaching intimacy – and think about the parallels to the corporate world, sales only ever really get to gaming, suggested our host.  This leaves a big role for marketing to create moments of intimacy and really engage.

 

THE CONCLUSION

 

On this occasion, our debate considered the evolving role of the CMO.  The club enjoyed an intimate debate about the new challenges marketeers are grappling with and how digitalisation and rapid transformation are forcing changes across the C-suite.  As dictated by club rules, all quotes have been anonymised and no idea is attributed to any one person.

The Club united CMOs, Marketing Directors, Senior Directors, VPs, and other leaders from organisations such as Fujitsu, Oracle, 4C, Basware, AVEVA and select others – on this occasion at 34 Mayfair Restaurant, in London – to debate the future of the CMO role.  Debate on the night covered many more perspectives on the evolution of the role than we can fully discuss here.

To gain the in-depth insights that our guests benefited from, book your place for next time via the button below:

 

 

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