10 Ways to Keep Your Marketing Leadership Job


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Chief Marketing Officers and Marketing Vice Presidents are too often blamed for what is a more systemic problem in their organization. Many will lose their jobs in less than three years. We want to be the quarterback, but it’s often similar to playing cornerback on defense. An intrepid soul who is expected to do great things with unpredictable support. Like an NFL football game, everyone has an opinion but few people ever played it at the level they are watching. What makes it even more daunting is the game seems to keep getting faster. Here are some ideas on how to shore up your internal support.

Be a buyer champion, jab, and speak in numbers

1) Know thy buyers. Do the analysis on markets, current customers, define best industries and buyer personas. Make sure you have hard data on your buyers. Help the rest of the revenue team stop wasting their valuable time focusing on low probability leads.

2) Brand buzz is not the same as helping the buyer progress. Buzz is critical to celebrities, but chances are you are not in the entertainment business. Getting attention is not the same as helping a business buyer research their needs. You will want to help them research not just on your web site, but on relevant distribution points across the web. By helping them execute on their research objective, they can begin the process toward further evaluation.

3) Nurturing is not quite the same thing as helping the buyer prioritize their needs. Would buyers enjoy being told they were being nurtured? It sounds self-serving. People nurture farm animals too, right up to the point they are going to eat them. Providers should be helping the buyer frame priorities and inform with content that is worth sharing. We want to give them something to try so they can accelerate their own decision-making. If the need is a priority and the provider delivers a strong mix of patience, responsiveness, and quality; the buyer will naturally move to a Ready-to-Purchase status.

4) Your offering is subservient to the buyer’s needs. For too long, providers have been focused on what they have to sell. Is the buyer ready to care? Buyers need to know the provider understands their problems and needs. Let’s start there. But instead, marketers with bad habits keep hammering away at the buyer with what the provider has to sell.

5) Fall in love with existing customers. Existing customers are a treasure chest of increased revenue, new relationships, and stories of proof. Ask your account managers if you can join them on customer calls, learn to listen well (and stay quiet) and learn with humility.

6) Turn fresh customer stories into content that enables new buyer traction. New buyers see the stories of proof and start to imagine their own success stories with you.

7) Promote customer care to a marketing contributor. Buyers cannot optimize their relationship with you unless customer care is outstanding. Customer care has become more important to marketing because buyers talk and the Internet allows real-time sharing. Let that sink in a bit.

8) Get in step with the digital buyer. A bit of a self-serving point because I wrote a book on this. Map this out to improve the probability the buyer chooses your company.

9) Run low-exposure pilot programs under the radar. Few people will complain if you waste a few thousand dollars to see if something will work. They will love you if you spend a few thousand dollars and you gain proof of concept. If you spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and it does not meet expectations, only the most magnanimous souls will absorb the decision. Start small, learn, and then scale. Be a scientist.

10) Jabs get there faster than roundhouses. New to the job? Make something good happen in 90 days. Not new to the job? Make something good happen in 90 days. Look, we know you have long-term brand vision, but marketing jabs show others on the revenue team that you are contributing to today’s revenue fight. You want to be invited to the foxhole too.

11) Analyze and evangelize insight. You know the old saying, “you cannot manage what you cannot measure”. Word of warning; either track KPIs (key performance indicators) for marketing or get measured soon. It’s right around the corner that technology will be able to measure nearly everything that is done in a company. You gain instant credibility by basing your actions and adjustments on metrics, not hearsay.

12) Learn financial speak. If you want to set at the big person table, take two to three people from the financial group out to lunch. If you are not sure, ask questions about the reports that are requested by the CEO or CFO. Learn to define your team objectives and planning with those metrics in mind. Revenue growth and profit is usually a good place to start. Do not automatically ask for more budget money every year. First, ask your marketing team what you learned in the last year. You may simply need the same amount of money, but you’ve lifted your knowledge and ability to execute. Do this with rigor and even if you ask for more money, you will gain respect from the CFO.

The final point in keeping your marketing leadership job? Notice how I wrote twelve points instead of the ten I promised? You have to look for ways to over-deliver in every interaction. Over-delivering way is a great place to place your creative focus. Contact me if you need a hand.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

John Ryan
Speaker, Author, Marketing, Corporate Communications and Business Development Leader with over 25 years experience in US and international markets. Former Director at Webtrends, VP of Marketing at Tivoli/IBM and VP of Marketing at Siemens. Has helped many start ups and companies who want to go through marketing transformation. Author of the book, "Buyer Steps" in 2011 which is a buyer-centric view of the revenue growth effort.


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