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Good CMOs play the long game

Seems like everyone from sales to senior leadership wants a piece of the CMO’s time and attention. Inevitably, the pull is about short-term tactics and issues. But marketing leaders who make it a habit to focus on day-to-day, internal thinking at the expense of strategic, long-term customer success tend to lose their way: they get a short runway and no lift in their results. 

So how can CMOs remove themselves from tactics and engage teams in their vision? I’ve seen 3 techniques that work every time:

1. Organization: Hire a strong marketing operations leader

Strong head coaches focus on how to win the season, leaving day-to-day plays and line-up minutiae to their assistant coaches. No different in marketing. Hire a VP Marketing Operations to execute on your strategic framework. This frees up CMO time to set a clear strategic direction based on understanding your brand’s strengths and weaknesses, how you create business value for customers, and why they buy from you over competitors.

2. Data: Use it for strategic insight to drive decisions

Data gives you the long-term insight needed for that proactive strategy. You get critical insights like how customers and prospects interact with the brand, which products impact their growth, what your most valued customers look like, and how to find more customers like them. How do you make data a habit? Make every meeting a data meeting. Look at the data together and encourage people to discover insights and move the metrics. Get smart Moneyball-style and create your own winning team.

3. Culture: Rally your team around customers and competition

A great way to take the pulse of a marketing organization is to listen for how often people talk about customers and competition. You’d be surprised. I’ve met CEOs and CMOs who’ve never met a customer. I’ve been in strategy off-sites that spend days on tactics. But CMOs need to think well outside the walls: rally your team around customer success and beating the competition, and get everyone contributing. An innovative quarterly goal—a new technology, channel, message, or competitive tactic—gets everyone excited. 

Quick wins can be fun. But long-term, customer-focused strategic thinking takes you further faster. 

For more strategic advice from Joe, book your free 30-minute consult today.

Joe Cordo

Leap Advisor

I was a VP of Revenue Marketing at a $100M+ HR SaaS company, competing with SAP, Workday, and Oracle. Because you can’t close deals in the hundreds of thousands without a VP in the room, we set a simple long-term goal: increase senior-level leads and deal flow. This focus led to director level and above brand interactions going from 15% to 50% in 15 months. Growth went from flat to 48%. Marketing’s contribution to wins went from 7% to 97%. Forget moving the needle; clear strategy can move mountains.

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