Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2021-10-27
Marketers are good at demonstrating the value of the product or service they’re marketing. (At least good marketers are.) But when it comes to proving their worth to the C-suite, a recent article from CRM Magazine writes that many executives fail to see the full value of marketing. And many marketing leaders don’t even have a seat at the table. According to Forrester’s 2021 Global Marketing Survey, about one-third of marketing leaders report to the CEO, but more report to another executive, such as a sales or revenue leader. If marketers
want a seat at the table, the article says they’ll need to earn it.
Here are my three top takeaways from the article that capture my experiences over the years and can serve to guide you as you focus on showing your value in 2022:
Marketers and business leaders alike will often use the word strategy to mean the tactics, solution or technology being applied. But a true marketing strategy is “the making of an aligned and integrated set of choices that collectively position the organization for profitable revenue growth while maximizing stakeholder value,” as defined by Forrester. “The planning process doesn’t produce strategy,” as noted in one of the most recognized books on business strategy, “Blue Ocean Strategy, Expanded Edition” by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne.
Your “marketing strategy” can’t be a patchwork of the latest technology all pieced together, no matter how innovative or groundbreaking they are individually. The data programs, acquisition methods, channels you’re using, specific opportunities you’re after, technology, etc. should be informed by your strategy—not the other way around.
Data is everything in digital marketing today. And one of the greatest benefits is the ability to use data insights to get a real picture of customers, prospects, your business, competitors and the environment instead of just guessing. Reexamine your current strategy and what you think is true of your customers, what they’re looking for, what they think about your solution, how your messaging comes across to them, the best channels to reach them, etc. For example, intent monitoring is a great way to find people searching for keywords that align with your product or solution to identify businesses and decision makers who are ready to buy now. It can also provide insights on your prospective customer’s interests and preferences by revealing how they’re searching for solutions. It may align with what you already thought, or not. Use data to inform your actions, not to confirm what you already believe to be true.
For some marketing teams, maybe the reason the C-suite isn’t seeing their value is because they haven’t been a part of the process. When marketing involves other teams in the process there’s a “sense of shared purpose” and it’s easier to tie in marketing’s goals to the organization’s strategic business goals.
This is especially true when it comes to defining the KPIs for success. Metrics need to have relevant meaning for their audiences. It’s hard to make the case to an audience that doesn’t understand or care about your abstract numbers. That’s why clearly defining goals and how they’ll be measured with those parties beforehand makes it easier to convey results when they are met or exceeded.
Your marketing strategy, as well as specific goals and metrics, shouldn’t be “developed in a vacuum.” And it can’t be developed on the fly to respond to the issue of the moment. Instead, marketers should “come to the table with a long-term plan that aligns to corporate goals, demonstrates a commitment to continuous incremental improvement in revenue operations, and illuminates marketing’s role in product/service innovation.” That’s a strategy marketers and the rest of the C-suite can get behind.
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