Are you the very model of a modern CMO?

I am the very model of a modern Major-General,
I’ve information vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical
From Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical …

Major-General’s Song, Pirates of Penzance

In the most famous of Gilbert and Sullivan patter songs, the Major-General waxes eloquent on his vast, well-rounded education … only to admit that his military knowledge has “only been brought down to the beginning of the century.”

As I talk with CMOs from a diverse array of industries, many confide in me that they find themselves in a situation similar to that of our loquacious friend. Despite their extensive education and vast experience, they admit to being at a loss for dealing with the demands of surviving and thriving in today’s complex environment.

While the task of summarizing everything the modern CMO needs to know would reach far beyond the limits of a single blog post, these three areas are a good place to start:

1. Balance Inbound and Outbound Marketing

I think we can all agree that the days of “barge, brag, and bully” marketing are over. We can no longer expect a nonstop flow of pure marketing messaging to pay off. Content marketing and other inbound methods are here to stay … but relying on them exclusively can land us in the “friend zone”: well known and appreciated as trusted advisors, but invisible as vendors of solutions.

The modern CMO must recognize that both inbound and outbound marketing are necessary, and striking the right balance between them is a vital component of their mission.

Action Item: Ensure that your marketing strategy balances inbound and outbound marketing tactics. If you’re not seeing the desired results, it might be time to adjust the mix.

2. Understand the New ROI

The myth that content marketing has no ROI is just that: a myth. The reality is that ROI itself has evolved.

Back in “the day,” we created advertising campaigns, analyzed the revenue they brought in, did the math, and we were done for the day. Today we’re dealing with a far more complex set of inputs, each of which makes its own incremental contribution to our bottom lines:

Are you the very model of a modern CMO?

Messy, isn’t it? Fortunately, many of today’s inbound marketing tools incorporate “big data” analytics that can track a prospect from first touch to sale, picking up every touchpoint in between. Once we can see and analyze each of these touchpoints, the ROI picture becomes much clearer.

Action Item: Meet with your analytics team to discuss how you can better track the results of your inbound marketing efforts and make adjustments as needed.

3. Focus on the Big “We”

Far too often I see content marketing ensconced within the walls of the marketing department. Ask the accounts-payable admin or the guys in the mailroom about it, and they might have a vague idea that there’s a company blog out there somewhere and that you might be “doing some stuff” on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Each employee in your company is a potential brand ambassador. Pull back the curtain on your marketing strategy and empower them to be partners in growing your tribe. Open up a pipeline to let them know what you’re doing every single day, and encourage them to share your gems of content brilliance with their own networks.

As for your A-list experts — you know, the ones who are always invited to speak at the big conferences — invite them to help grow your thought leadership. Think beyond your own company blog and help them uncover opportunities to publish on sites across your industry.

Action Item: Gather your marketing team and brainstorm ways to get all employees more involved in your inbound marketing efforts.

How will you approach becoming the model of a modern CMO in 2016? Share your thoughts with us in the Comments!