Marketing is sometimes a difficult world to understand. We have an endless and always-evolving dictionary of jargon that's helpful for those that speak the language but confusing to those who don't. We deal with nonlinear processes and the complex realm of human psychology and persuasion that doesn't always reduce to a spreadsheet.
But at the end of the day, the CEO is the one signing off on marketing budgets and calling the shots that affects the work that every Marketing department does. It's essential that the CEO understand what Marketing is really bringing to the table.
I recently sat down with the CEO of a multi-billion dollar sales and marketing technology company, to get some insight into what CEOs want from marketing. He offered three primary issues — issues that Marketing can address in order to add exponential value. In this post, we'll take a look at his three insights and what leadership and Marketing can do together to solve them.
1. Sales and Marketing Alignment
There's a constant battle between Sales and Marketing in many organizations. The Sales department complains that the Marketing department isn't giving them quality leads, and the Marketing department claims that the Sales department isn't working the leads they're giving them. Each department depends upon the other to help produce the results the organization is looking for — and neither wants to take the blame if goals aren't met.
The problem for CEOs is that the dissension isn't good for the company culture, and without the two departments working together, revenue goals don't have a chance.
So what's the solution? Sales and Marketing alignment. Instead of the two departments being in separate areas, sit together and work side-by-side. Encourage communication with regular meetings that gather both departments together. In those meetings, Sales should share which leads are converting — so Marketing knows exactly what the good leads look like and so they can track where they're coming from. Also, Marketing should share what went into generating those ideal leads — so Sales understands all the work that goes into getting good leads.
Sales and Marketing should together come up with agreed-upon definitions of a marketing-qualified lead and a sales-qualified lead, so that everyone is on the same page and there's no ambiguity.
2. Marketing Needs to Know the Customers Like Sales Does
Marketing deals with demographics and target market segments. They understand the customers in terms of the categories they fit into, but they don't always see them as individuals. In order for marketing to be as effective as it can be, it has to be customized and highly relevant. And unless you know your customers inside and out, you can't really get to that level of customization.
This is where psychographics can help. Marketing should dig into the attitudes, beliefs, goals, fears, and dreams of customers. The best way to learn this information is to spend time with the customers. This kind of data isn't found through surveys or even focus groups. It comes from conversations with individual customers. Marketing can also talk with Sales to find out what they're seeing on the ground as they interact with customers and prospects on a daily basis.
3. "We Did It Last Year" Isn't a Good Reason
If there's one thing all CEOs love, it's metrics. Un-trackable marketing drive CEOs crazy. If you want to continue using a particular tactic or engaging on a particular platform, you've got to prove that it works.
The Marketing department tends to be made up of creatives — visionary people who know how to persuade, know how to communicate, and know how to create amazing content. But creatives aren't usually math people. They don't like numbers. But the numbers are what tells their success story to the CEO.
Accurate measurement isn't easy, but Marketing needs to set up a tracking and metrics system. And with today's technology, there's really no excuse. Everything can be measured.
Whether you're using a simple Single Attribution with Revenue Cycle Attribution Model or the more-complex-but-more accurate Full Market Mix Modeling (or something in between) you should have a process for measurement. And although the creatives should be involved, they don't necessarily have to do it alone, especially the set-up.
Marketing plays a valuable role in every company, but the way many organizations operate doesn't foster the communication that's essential for optimal results. When Marketing can communicate with Sales, be sure they fully understand the customers, and measure the success of their work, they not only gain the respect of the CEO but also prove their value.