Part 2: How to Be a Marketing Hero
to Senior Management
Marketing has a branding problem with upper management. Too often the department is seen as more of a cost generator than a profit center. According to a CEO report by the Fornaise Marketing Group, 8 of 10 CEOs view marketers as being disconnected from their companies' financial realities. As a result, the same proportion of CEOs claim they do not trust their firms' marketers and are not impressed by their work.
While marketers acknowledge the importance of connecting the dots between marketing spend and return, a survey of 243 chief marketing officers (CMOs), by Columbia Business School finds 57% don't establish their budgets according to ROI measures. Sixty-eight percent of respondents said they base their budget decisions on historical spending levels, while 28% said they go with gut instinct. And 7% said most of or all their spending decisions aren't based on any metrics at all.
According to a recent article on CMO.com, one of the key roles of the chief marketing officer (CMO) is to provide insights into customer preferences, use that market intelligence to "elevate the customer experience," and as a result optimize the opportunities for organic growth. And according to a survey cited in a recent blog by Marketo, a marketing software company, 7 out of 10 CEOs who give their CMOs an "A" do so because of the CMO's ability to grow market share, customer satisfaction and loyalty.
The opportunity to be a hero in the eyes of senior management lies in how well Marketing is able to correlate customer satisfaction and loyalty to increased sales and profitability — ROI. (See the March 2014 edition of BankingOnContent to help you establish this correlation.) Being well versed in the ROI of client satisfaction and retention will also go a long way toward demonstrating to senior executives your "connection with the financial realities" of the bank.
Another way to give weight to the fiscal impact of your marketing plans is to involve both Finance and Sales in developing your marketing budget. Such a collaboration will enable you to develop a marketing plan that highlights its impact on sales revenue. That way your CFO can more easily comprehend how your marketing plan can both increase sales and enable the Sales team to sell more efficiently (as noted in the article 5 Steps to Align the Offices of the CMO and CFO).
Senior management also expects Marketing and Sales to agree on key metrics such as the definition of a quality lead and the attributes of an ideal prospect. Mike Sullivan, CFO of eIQnetworks Inc., an information security solution provider, notes that CMOs sometimes design strategies to go after the wrong prospects because they have not established in advance well-defined prospect profiles. If you just measure the number of raw leads generated, you could say that a campaign that generates 200 leads constitutes success, Sullivan notes. But what if none of those leads fit your prospect profile?
"If you're going to look at the numbers and measure the results, you have to make sure that everyone understands what the numbers mean and what should define success," Sullivan says.
For more on this subject, see a Q&A with Sullivan conducted by ITSMA Marketing Strategist at https://www.itsma.com/ezine/what-cfos-expect-from-their-cmos/.
How to Get Buy-In from Upper Management for Your Marketing Plan
8 Marketing Budget Templates
Prove Content Marketing ROI with a Performance Scorecard
How CMOs Can Get CFOs on Their Side
What Your CFO Wants You to Know