Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The CMO Club May Summit, NYC: “7 Actionable ideas for CMOs in a Down Economy” with Mitch Bishop, CMO, iRise

Despite the snappy name of this session’s title, Mitch notes that the ideas he’s talking about today are good during any economic situation.

Mitch takes pride in his team, which he likens to Altoids – small, but powerful. Check out iRise here.

Idea #1: Get out of your office
Go out on sales calls. Talk to the customers. Become the keeper of customer satisfaction. Now is a great time to get out there and build relationships. If you’re the head of marketing, it’s crucial to understand the challenges the sales team faces, so challenge yourself to learn what it’s like to have to meet monthly quotas and deal with customers.

Idea #2: Shift Regional
Focus resources on smaller, more targeting groups. It might not feel like you’re making the same impact, but in fact you’re getting in touch with exactly the right people. Take the outreach to the local level with theme-discussion dinners, and try to use these more intimate meetings to foster better relationships and encourage referrals.

A note on virtual events: Cost savings may be the catalyst for launching a virtual event, but you’ll do better if you approach it as a complement to a larger event program.

Idea #3: Fire your PR Agency
At the very least renegotiate your agency contract. Out-sourcing broad-based pitching is one thing, but you should build your own critical media relationships. Don’t be afraid to start with the publishers and bridge out to the editors as the relationship develops – Mitch says it works every time.

This one opened up some healthy debate, but everyone seemed to agree that if a PR agency is just pitching traditional press and not engaging with the online audience via social media, they need to be shown the door.

Idea #4: Invest in Tools
There’s no better time to get a great deal on or renew existing contracts for tools and services that could help your organization.

Idea #5: Precision Marketing
Know EXACTLY who you’re targeting. That means do the research, build your database and create an action plan from the intelligence you’ve gathered. It’s not unlike the CIA. And don’t be afraid to ask your customers for referrals; they’re worth 100x more than a cold call or email.

Idea #6: Outsource
iRise was able to outsource some initiatives with great success last year, from some of their market research to creative services. If you do some experimenting you can get some amazing results.

Idea #7: Rebuild Your Team
Develop a team that’s built to meet your business goals.

Bonus Idea #8: Own the Data
Make sure marketing is transparent and accountable by measuring everything and reporting it in a way that gets people within your organization to take the right course.

Idea #9: Make it Easier
Explore new pricing models and offer financing options. Invest in eLearning and do away with cumbersome paperwork where you can.

Idea #10: Buy a Competitor
If you have the cash, now is a great time to buy-out a competitor!

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