3 Critical to Success Recommendations for CMOs


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The role of a CMO has never been more challenging. In the quest to rise above the noise and capture mindshare (and share of wallet), it’s easy to overlook some critical to success business strategies. Gleanster research suggests CMOs could do a better job with the following in 2011:

1) Establish organizational rules and guidelines for social media engagement.

Some CMOs are still on the fence about the value of social media marketing. The truth is, it’s largely a resource intensive activity that’s difficult to justify as a lever for top line growth. But, Top Performing companies are generating higher revenue and customer satisfaction by taking a programmatic approach to social media marketing. Eight out of ten Top Performing companies in Gleansters November 2010 study on Social Media Marketing have engaged in some sort of social media campaign. By now, most CMOs have accepted that social media has given customers and prospects tremendous influence over the purchase decision and push marketing techniques are simply no longer effective. If history has taught us nothing else, it’s that ignoring social media channels will eventually result in mistakes. They could be huge mistakes that go viral quickly (like the Comcast employee who’s picture was taken sleeping on a customers couch and posted online) or they could be a blip on the radar (like an intern using the wrong hashtag on a Tweet and inadvertently making a political statement for the company). CMOs need to take an offensive approach to social media by establishing social media policies and at the very least actively monitoring the brand online.

2) Actively identify and reward your most influential customers and evangelists.

All too often, social media is measured by community growth, number of followers, or number of likes / dislikes / tweets. But, number of followers and likes is actually a poor measure of social media prowess. Ten influential bloggers or customer community members can have more influence on your brand than 100,000 random followers. Think of evangelists like outsourced call center agents. They are out there solving problems and answering questions about your brand 24 x 7, so reward them for this behavior. CMO’s in Gleanster’s recent Q1’11 survey on social media monitoring indicated they maximized the value of these tools by using them to identify and engage top influencers in their customer community. Since marketing is in charge of generating buzz and driving revenue, it’s largely up the marketing function to engage and reward these individuals appropriately – a task many CMOs overlook.

3) Marketing operations and ongoing optimization.

During an economic recession, inefficient marketing operations stick out like a sore thumb. CMOs are increasingly asked to do more with less resources and budget, and the processes that used to “get the job done” suddenly start to extend the marketing cycle-time by 3 to 4 times longer than before. Marketing operations is still sort of an emerging discipline, but essentially it addresses process efficiency, technology enablers, and organizational resource allocation to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of marketing. At times the concept has been used as catch all for the things marketers don’t really want to do: analysis, process efficiency, budgeting, measurement, etc. For most organizations, investments in operational efficiency are placed on a back burner for as long as possible. Unfortunately, channel proliferation and increasing demands for personalized, relevant, timely interactions are constraining organizations from meeting customer expectations. The world needs more progressive CMOs who realize the organization simply cannot scale to meet the demands of digital content growth and globalization without continuous optimization of back-office marketing operations. Often times that means bringing up the unpopular topic of organizational efficiency and effectiveness with the BOD and CEO who largely only want to hear about how marketing is influencing revenue and sales.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ian Michiels
Ian Michiels is a Principal & CEO at Gleanster Research, a globally known IT Market Research firm covering marketing, sales, voice of the customer, and BI. Michiels is a seasoned analyst, consultant, and speaker responsible for over 350 published analyst reports. He maintains ongoing relationships with hundreds of software executives each year and surveys tens of thousands of industry professionals to keep a finger on the pulse of the market. Michiels has also worked with some of the world's biggest brands including Nike, Sears Holdings, Wells Fargo, Franklin Templeton, and Ceasars.


  1. First, great stats in your post. Few post in this genre do that.

    Second, I am in total agreement with you take on the follower/likes hype that are “the rage” today. The fact is, someone may have 100,000 followers and not do anything to provide a service to even one.

    I am not a big blog commentor but you did a great job and I don’t hear many people with your take on followers.


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