Monday, November 3, 2008

CMO is a Credibility War Every Day

Patty Azzarello, CEO of Azzarello Group, continued the discussion about managing the CMO role with her presentation, "CMO is a Credibility War Every Day." She walked the audience through some great advice for the CMOs on how to build their credibility within the organization.

Building credibility is a task for any executive, not just CMOs
  • Credibility is inversely proportional to stupid questions (e.g. Why are you spending money on that? Do you think that's important?) The higher the credibility the fewer you get these stupid questions.
  • People with high credibility get more done.
Does your organization equate marketing with leads and glossing things up? If you do, then you have an issue, but luckily with this crowd that wasn't the case.

The CMO has extra credibility challenges built right into the role. You're not always seen as a business leader, the system is pitted against you, your budget is easy to cut, brand is built by their behavior, yet bad perception is the fault of marketing. Plus, if the CMO doesn't have product marketing reporting to him/her, then you've got a major strategy and positioning disconnect.

Lastly, does the CEO "get it." If not, you still may have opportunities if you've got a good corporate situation.

Building credibility

  • Do things on purpose
  • Schedule and make time for issues - Make room to do extra stuff. No one is going to do it for you. They don't have motivation to do it. The most successful people are not burned out. They don't have to do everything. Focus on your "ruthless priorities."
  • Build capacity in your team - Get better results out of the same programs over time and take costs out year after year. Don't keep asking for money year after year. Do better with less. In addition, increase the capabilities and learning agenda (individual and team level) of your team.
  • Act like a general manager (how you position the way you spend money, build an internal communications plan for your stakeholders)
Think and act like a business manager
  • Make sure your marketing plan is not isolated to marketing.
  • Show your understanding of the P&L and what impact your spending has on profit.
  • Get your priorities ratified by the business.
  • Tie your marketing approach to business model objectives.
Azzarello recommends what she calls a "left column makeover." And what that involves is taking your costs and divide them up in newly titled categories that have high level marketing and business goals. Put those headings over the costs so they know what that is. An example of those three columns could be:
  • Support current business/products
  • New initiatives and improvements
  • Strategic initiatives.
On top of that, Azzarello suggest a MUST column. This is all key for your negotiations. The must column allows you to take things off the table. Allows you to protect money and head count. Now you're able to negotiate because you're now just debating by column, and each column is titled by a different business initiative. You're defining what that is, you're just negotiating which one you're going to achieve.

Key Internal Stakeholders - The CEO
All they think about are trade offs. Get your head in the trade off mode. Marketing makes them nervous. Understand the issues they have which is primarily profit and share value. They also want to be industry changing and want to be seen on the map in a different way.

Win the CFO over and try to have them see you more as a person than just dollars which is all they traditionally think about.

Show up and meet the sales staff. Advertise a process to the sales force as to how they should communicate with marketing. You bring it back to sales and ask them to create the top ten list of issues. Attend reviews (in person or on phone at any time). Make sure you have ex-salespeople on your team.

Ask the salespeople what happened to your leads
Don't tolerate endless requests for more leads if they can't account for the ones they already have.

Are you measuring to increase effectiveness, or are you doing it just to keep people off your back? Be prepared, because you'll be attacked.

Check out all coverage at The CMO Club Peer to Peer Summit.

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