Though it’s changing more and more with the advent of open layered organizations, in the traditional silo-modelled corporation the Marketing department is often overshadowed by the louder, more prominent sales organization. Usually, in this type of model the Marketing department is looked at as a cost center, while Sales departments are thought of as a revenue generator. So what should the modern day CMO do to demonstrate that his/her efforts are positively contributing to the bottom line – Profits.
Know the Customer
I was at a TPMA event last December where April Dunford of @RocketScope was one of the speakers. Something that she told us that resonated with me was that years ago, during her transition from Tech to Marketing, the key activity that helped propel her success was to volunteer to do customer surveys. This is because both listening and having the ear of the customer (engaging!) has power. Understanding the customer informs your work – allowing you to be much more customer-focused in your marketing efforts. It also provides you with examples and references to support your point of view during internal discussions with other teams and the CEO.
Remember your bread and butter
Sales teams often look at the Marketing function as being just a lead generator. While that may be only one part of Marketing’s mandate, it still is an important function. Something I learned from being a colourful female in a predominately male, conservative business world, is they can’t fault you if you are good at what you do. Deliver and it really doesn’t matter if you weren’t thought of highly initially. Understand the expectations of the Sales department – they are one of your customers. Focus on making sure you deliver on that minimally. If your mandate is much larger, then what you do additionally will be even more appreciated if you have also delivered on expectations.
Look for ways to cross-pollinate
Look for opportunities to build cross-functional teams that work on projects. This will help to break down the organization’s silos. Some examples may be a way to integrate marketing and sales automation platforms, so that everyone is using the same systems. Or it might be a way to involve marketing, sales and development into a customer-focused event. To use a cliché – build a bridge, walk across it and lead them back to your side.
Report on ROI and Contributions to P&L
If there isn’t already a mechanism for reporting on the big picture Profit and Loss of the organization, or business units you are involved in, then offer to champion creating it. Develop a method to report on the Return-on-Investment of your marketing efforts. This sometimes isn’t easy – because it doesn’t fit nicely into quarters, as return is often down the line. The CEO and Sales teams will appreciate having the numbers available. Basically, speak to them in the language they understand.
Photo Credit: Microsoft Free Clip Art