4 Ways to Build Trust in Marketing and Earn the CEO’s Support

Many leading companies are getting rid of the Chief Marketing Officer role, some recent examples are Johnson & Johnson, McDonalds, Taco Bell, Coca Cola, Hyatt, Uber, and Lyft.

Is this the extinction of marketers? It may be if marketers don’t change their mindset.

Last month, I wrote the article “Why CMOs are not driving growth”. It explains that those CMOs not aligned with the CEO and the C-Suite board cannot help companies grow.

Did you know that high-growth companies are 7 times more likely to have a CMO aligned with the CEO?

Follow these 4 ways to build trust in marketing and earn the CEO´s support.

Marketing is not a cost center

This is a challenge for marketers because the way they measure the ROI is often less precise than other business areas.

For example, salespeople bring quotas, contracts, orders. But marketing folks conceptualize, position, create value proposals, market research, etc.

Marketers must embrace the true business definition of ROI instead of presenting a wide range of softer and less meaningful metrics.

74% of CEOs want their marketers to become completely focused on true ROI.

Showing how the money spent has an adequate return on investment will have a positive impact on your CEO.

Introduce precise measurement, elaborate metrics dashboards, and irrefutable attribution of financial outcomes.

This measurement can also identify underperforming marketing spend and reallocate to activities that deliver a better return on investment.

Secondly, marketing is more than designing nice brochures. Marketing can bring business opportunities!

Marketers need to scan for growth opportunities. Yet a recent McKinsey survey found that just 27 percent of companies systematically scan for opportunities to expand beyond their core business.

Customer experience is one potent driver of growth and marketers control one of the best assets of the company, the customer insight.

Innovative companies analyze real-time data to better understand their customers and improve the way they operate.

Measuring customer KPIs can help redesign business models and explore disruptive services.

New ideas could come from tapping into new sales channels to reach new customers or introduce new services to support an existing product.

It is time to analyze this data and transform it into growth opportunities.

Thirdly, success will come if the marketing department and the C-Suite executives are all on the same team

One typical mistake of most CMOs is to introduce a marketing plan without previously consulting with other C-Suite executives and getting their support.

This is one big mistake because the marketing department must work closely with other parts of the organization that engage with customers at various touchpoints.

Working in advance with other C-Suite executives can prevent many misunderstandings and potential rejections of the marketing plan.  

For example, the CFO can provide valuable insights about price, margin, volume and cost management; and could understand how marketers will spend the company’s money.

The salespeople will transmit their concerns about the issues when dealing with prospects and their concerns about revenue growth.

And the production and supply chain guys will provide valuable feedback about the predictability of demand.

Monthly meetings of the senior management team are not helpful to get this feedback. Marketers must schedule one-on-one meetings with other C-Suite executives and discuss these topics.

Finally, the last challenge for marketers is to learn how to successfully sell their marketing plans.

Do you want to get the support of the CEO? Then, you should convince him first. A good presentation of your plan not only may help you to succeed with your proposal but also be acknowledged by your peers.

Follow a problem-solution narrative

Take time to introduce the problem you have identified and spend time describing the pain points, the context and the potential threat for the company’s growth.

Try to create a sense of urgency, it will make your audience eager for the solution.

Make data storytelling part of the process 

“What gets measured gets managed.”

A/B testing, surveys, focus groups, and test markets can confirm or refute hypotheses to reasonable levels of confidence.

Turn the data into meaningful customer insights and offer guidance where investments in products, services, and customer engagement can be advantageous.

Show them the money!

Your plan needs to include how much it will cost and how much money the company will save and earn after implementing the plan.

The ROI is your CEO’s favorite topic. Show him the spending is aligned with business strategies and have a set of KPIs to demonstrate impact on financial outcomes.

Define the timeline, the resources, budget and the departments needed to achieve your goal. It will help to demonstrate rigor in managing the marketing budget.

Prepare in advance tricky questions

You will feel more confident and your plan will be more reliable.

In case, they ask you something you don’t know, just admit it and provide the answer after you look into it.

Encourage people to ask questions and if they don’t, ask them. As a thumb rule, if people don’t ask questions, it means they are not interested in your proposal.

The more questions you receive, the better your plan. This feedback will help you to improve the proposal and you may consider to include their suggestions.

I hope this article will help you to maintain the proximity with the CEO and the C-suite executives, convince them to trust in marketing and earn their support.

Once you get this alignment, you will step into the path for growth.

Have you got any different opinion? Please, share it with us.

Do you want to know more about this topic? Check the following articles:

What Can We Learn From the Fall of Leading Tech Brands?

How to Hire a Great Chief Marketing Officer

What winning approach should brands undertake in order to succeed in Asian markets?

POST WRITTEN BY

Chema Lopez

A Madrid Polytechnic University International MBA has worked as global marketing director in B2B and B2C international leading companies implementing global marketing and communication strategies to ensure business objectives and to optimize brands reputation and visibility on a global level.

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