How do marketing leaders create, cultivate and convey value internally and externally in their organizations, as well as their campaigns?
The challenge of conveying marketing value as a CMO is as time-old as the function itself. Those in the more creative pockets of a company can easily recognize the power of decent brand exposure upon both an offline and online community, the resonance for a potential customer a focused piece of content can initiate. Those elsewhere in the business, say, in finance or sales, require more quantitative results, especially in the B2B sector, and it is between these different functions where the dissonance of marketing value has historically been felt most keenly.
Today, however, marketing has completely digitized, alongside the rest of the business. That brings with it a whole new concept, platform and framework for marketing practice, as well as new audiences, sub-audiences and tracks. Critically, it also provides valuable insights and technologies, by which marketing value can be more sharply derived. Engagement, views, viewers, returning customers, hits, clicks, leads—even the language of marketing has evolved and spoken beyond the CMO’s office.
There is still a long way to go though. For B2B marketers, the dominance of sales’ focus on leads, and the propensity for short term solutions to be preferred over longer term cycles, provides a challenge not just on the campaigns they can run, but how they translate the marketing value of those campaigns into the wider business.
As such, ‘How do marketing leaders create, cultivate and convey value internally and externally in their organizations, as well as their campaigns?’ was one of the more critical debate questions HotTopics.ht’s marketing leaders community took on in their marketing leaders Meetup; it’s a way for these experts to share their thought leadership in an informal event setting.
A special thanks goes to Tina Morwani of Logz.io for her research into customer categories and their expectations on value, which kick-started our debate.
- Definitions of value need to be understood and agreed ahead of time: is your company requiring leads, opportunities, engagement or all of them, in a specific ratio? It’s also important to educate the business that some things still can’t be measured, like a potential lead already viewing content from your brand which makes a sales call that little bit easier.
- Understanding different sized businesses will see marketing value differently. Small companies need to focus on product market fit whereas enterprises should look to pipeline generation. A startup? Don’t forget your most important audience: the Board.
- Speaking of, internal audiences need to understand their own versions of marketing value. The CEO wants bigger picture directives and of course, revenue generation; the CFO will want a more detailed analysis on that, too, and don’t forget ‘vanity metrics’ that incur an emotional response, but are intangible, such as sales people enjoying an event.
Conveying marketing value
- Sales’ has a basic view of marketing value, on average; that’s down to communication and requires a deeper partnership between the two functions.
- Shorttermism in marketing is generally a bad thing—there is more to marketing than lead generation. Convey the idea that marketing is “not a candy machine” and should be invested in across a larger timeline to develop a more sustainable business growth.
Cultivating marketing value
- Compartmentalize different investments so it’s easier to review how each are performing, and continually review targets as a business, so the rest of the business and the Board understands the language and is clued up on what actions marketing is performing.
- Be as transparent about mistakes or misses, as with success, to foster empathy and a culture of testing and learning.
- Use simple terms with as little jargon as possible and try to find out how senior leadership likes to consume information. One of the marketing leaders shared that she found out her CEO liked to be drawn pictures; it was a game-changer when it came to sharing marketing value to them.
- Most importantly, cultivating value is all about the relationships you have built both in and out the company, it’s the backbone to understanding audiences and being able to speak their language.
Enjoy debate with your fellow marketing leaders in our monthly virtual debates and join the LinkedIn community today.