In the not-so-distant past, marketing success sometimes felt like it was the result of a combination of know-how, guts and luck. But –thank goodness! –that no longer has to be the case. These days, marketers can effectively engage customers using a data-driven approach, one that’s backed by a wealth of customer data and solid analytics. Data-driven marketers can drive and measure ROI, defining which macro metrics best demonstrate how their efforts contribute to the business –all of which can add up to a tremendous advantage in today’s ultra-competitive and fast-paced global marketplace.
Another big advantage a marketing team can have is a robust culture of collaboration and communication. Time after time, I have seen that if everyone is working towards the same goals and supporting each other in their efforts, the chances of success increase exponentially. That’s why it makes perfect sense for the CMO to check in regularly, confirming that everyone’s on the right track AND on the same page, across groups and departments.
But, are you ready with answers when your team is on the hot seat? To help you get prepared, here’s my list of the questions marketers must to be able to answer (aka, “the five questions that keep your fearless leader up at night”):
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1. Are we utilizing all the relevant data? If not, how can we tear down data silos and improve collaboration across the department/across the enterprise? There’s nothing more frustrating to a CMO than underutilized data—data that could be helping plug into customer needs, but that (somehow, somewhere) is wasted instead. It’s your job to know which numbers and metrics matter most and how you can use them to improve performance and drive revenue.
2. Are our campaigns multi-channel, multi-platform, integrated, agile? What do we need to do to have those capabilities? Marketing teams need to use all the tools at their disposal, and they need to use them in a coordinated effort across both on- and offline channels (i.e., wherever your customers are AND wherever the data is). Remember: Integrating online channels isn’t enough. Your company is undoubtedly collecting customer data from offline channels, as well, and that information must be included to develop a full-view of your customers. If you don’t have the capabilities to achieve what you AND your CMO are looking for, you should be ready to ask her/him for exactly what you need.
3. How can we prove the value of our efforts? Can we track spend from concept to closed deal? Tracking the progress of your efforts is key not only to agility and smarter marketing choices, but also in ensuring that you hang on to every penny of your marketing budget. If you can’t prove where the dollars are going—and what kind of return each effort is bringing—then you’re leaving your CMO to stammer in the C-suite . . . and that, most definitely, is not what any CMO wants to do.
4. What’s “the vision?” What are we doing to improve our customer view and improve the customer experience? The best marketing efforts arise from an ever-evolving and savvy combination of vision, strategy, implementation and response. If you’re too focused on tactics, you lose the big picture. And if seeing the big picture doesn’t lead to action, then all the vision in the world won’t make your department productive. Know where you’re headed—and be ready to pivot as needed along the way.
5. Are we keeping the customer experience front-and-center? Are we focused on our customers as people – not data points? Yes, a data-driven strategy is the key to successful marketing. But that doesn’t mean your customers have turned into “data!” Your customers are people, with individual likes, needs and behaviors. Done right, data-driven marketing actually makes your approaches more human – because data-driven marketing will help you uncover the insights that lead to more personalized, more meaningful interactions.
Your CMO has big expectations, no doubt . . . and I’m sure you do, too. With a strong collaborative mindset, a silo-free working environment, the right tools and plenty of communication across the enterprise—not to mention up and down the ladder—those expectations stand a much better chance of being met.
And now it’s your turn. Please leave a comment below and let me know: What questions does your CMO ask you? Do you have the answers the need?