Friday, September 19, 2008

Pete Krainik Thoughts on The Three Things that Really Separate CMO Stars from other CMOs

Last night was our 8th CMO CLUB dinner in September and as I attend the dinners and listen to CMOs around the country, it is becoming clearer and clearer to me that when you set aside all the new hot marketing and social media technologies, discussions about the short tenure of CMOs, and the down economy, there are three things that really separate CMO Stars from all the others.

The first thing, marketing expertise and the ability to combine the art of customer engagement with the science of hitting your numbers, is the area most CMOs spend their time. We all think about how to differentiate ourselves through our campaigns, websites, and PR activities. We focus our time and resources on developing our demand generation engines (B2B and B2C) and working with our teams and outside vendors to integrate the data with planning tools, analytics/reporting tools, and monitoring metrics, etc. We think about ways to leverage new social media and ad networks within our integrated approach to customers and partners. We create our scorecard and ROI dashboards and share them internally within out teams and our management. 90% of our CMO CLUB dinner conversations are in this area. In my opinion we have a large number of CMOs throughout the club that excel in this area and are always in demand for giving advice at dinners and our events.
Listening to hundreds of CMOs it has become clear to me that CMOs that combine the expertise noted above with the following two areas of expertise, are the CMOs with the best jobs, careers, and tenure.

The second thing: You are an officer in the company so focus on delivering value as an officer. This is much harder to accomplish for many CMOs, but your ability and comfort level in interacting with your CEO and other C Levels is critical to not only keep your job but thrive in your role. Become THE expert in your company on your customers and be the one at the C Level table that is looked to whenever strategic planning goes on for implications, reactions and success with your customers. Start every conversation with you CEO on the current revenue and profit picture and plans and ideas for THE BUSINESS, NOT JUST MARKETING, to maintain or improve results. Ensure your ROI metrics deal in those terms and those terms only (you can have your own department specific metrics on costs per lead, solicits to responder rates, days to close qualified leads, brand awareness and consideration, etc.). Really think about how an officer should act and what they focus on and make sure a large part of each week is in support of those areas of focus.

The third thing: Your success is driven by how aligned and motivated your company employees are with your marketing, demand generation, and customer engagement plans. The really, really successful CMOs are experts in this area and enjoy engaging employees throughout the organization. I keep thinking back to Kevin Joyce’s presentation at our May Summit and his obvious commitment and success in this area within Kodak. How much time are you spending every week sharing your marketing plans with other departments and partners? I think the stars are spending significant time in this area. Get people excited about what your company stands for, why you are different, your plans for getting the word out and driving sales.

So in summary, continue to be the company expert in delivery of marketing plans and development of the marketing operations engine for ongoing success, but increase your focus on acting as an officer and aligning your company around your marketing plans, if you want to make more money, stay longer and get on that short list for a CEO position. Any other recommendations for being a CMO Star?

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