Digital Marketing

How to Impress Your CMO in the First 12 Months

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Words by Beth Osborne
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Impressing the CMO is no easy task – you’ll need to be smart and savvy and have a great understanding of their challenges, responsibilities, and objectives. Much of how to impress your CMO is based on how much you understand about trends, technology, and the changing role of marketing and how you can use this collection of intelligence. Once you master that, you’ll be able to get your CMO’s attention and show your value.

1. Focus on the Customer Experience Because Your CMO Is

Marketing has shifted from product-centric to customer-centric. Understanding the customer and the experience that they expect is the foundation of success. Your CMO is probably invested in this idea, so you should be too.

Customers need to know that they matter, so your marketing needs to reflect this. Otherwise they’ll leave. In fact, the Salesforce “State of the Connected Customer” Report found that

“66 percent of consumers would be likely to switch brands if they were treated like a number instead of an individual.”

Recognize That Marketing’s Role in the Enterprise is Evolving

The shift to customer-centric means that marketing roles are changing, too. The roles are changing from a traditional marketing structure to better alignment with the customer journey strategy. 

In the Salesforce “State of Marketing” Report, 59 percent of marketing leaders sharing that traditional marketing roles limit their ability to engage with and understand the customer. This is reflected in the many new roles in marketing that have titles using terms like customer experience, customer success, or lifecycle marketing.

The same Salesforce report noted above, 64 percent of marketing leaders believe it’s necessary for the role of marketing to align.

Understanding that marketing’s role is changing and keeping this top of mind can certainly impress your CMO.

2. Consider Technology, Trends, and Metrics

Technology tools are the backbone of any healthy marketing department. No matter where your brand is on the technology journey, you need to know what’s working and where there are gaps. Sharing this with your CMO is a great first step. Then, identify trends and opportunities that can help your brand and CMO succeed.

Artificial and Augmented Intelligence Technology Are the Now

These two concepts may be the most significant technological strategies your CMO is considering. Impress your boss by knowing and defining the difference.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence occurs when machines learn. They display “intelligence” and can then work to automate processes. It’s not something from a science fiction movie. It’s actually something you encounter every day, from asking Siri questions to viewing recommended products from Amazon. AI is also what drives chatbots, which interact every with customers. Brands use complex algorithms based on past behaviors and preferences that deliver options or responses that most of the time are correct.

Augmented Intelligence

While artificial intelligence gets most of the credit for how it helps marketing teams target buyers better. The real tool that will make the most difference in creating an experience is augmented intelligence.

Augmented intelligence describes when machine learning and human insights merge.

Brands are making huge investments in artificial intelligence with $300 million being spent on artificial intelligence startups in 2014, according to a Narrative Science Artificial Intelligence report. However, what is often defined as artificial intelligence is really augmented intelligence. The key to impressing your CMO on the subject of intelligence is not categorizing these technological advancements as purely artificial.

Use the power of big data and augmented intelligence to reframe the customer experience journey.

A better customer experience

So how does artificial or augmented intelligence create a better customer experience? Email is a great customer channel. It’s still one of the best channels for return on investment with every $1 spent email marketing generates $38 in ROI, per a 2015 Direct Marketing Association report. When looking at the metrics that email provides, it reveals lots of nuggets like preferences. It’s a great platform to understand buyer motivations.

  • What emails do they open?
  • What devices are the using?
  • How are they clicking and converting?

You can determine this data just from email communications. Take this data and apply some human insight (augmented intelligence) to create better nurture paths.

Stay Up-to-Date on Trends

Marketing, just like anything else, has trends. Impress your CMO and stay up to date on trends and providing ideas on how to leverage those trends. You must keep yourself educated and informed on what’s next.

Read thought leadership blogs, attend free webinars, and connect with peers to stay in the know. When an opportunity arises, like with augmented intelligence as mentioned, take the initiative and pitch your CMO. Listen to the best digital marketing podcasts too. They’re insightful and you can listen to them almost anywhere. 

Create a brief on the trend and how your brand can leverage it.

In your brief, explain what the trend is, what’s needed to execute on it, and what success looks like.

Defining Metrics that Matter and Their Accuracy

Metrics are a big part of a CMO’s life. There are, of course, hundreds of possible metrics. Not all of them matter. This is your chance to have a point of view of which ones do.

Remember, marketing needs to prove itself as providing a great return on investment. Start with determining what metrics actually matter.

Here is a full breakdown of the metrics that matter the most to your CMO.

It’s not impressions or even click-through rate. Those numbers only matter with context like actual conversions. Make sure your team is measuring the most important metrics that determine actual performance of your content and tactics.

You should also ensure that the data is accurate. In order to achieve this, ask where the data comes from and how it’s calculated. Calculation methods can be terribly skewed if not consistently measured. or reach; not impressions.

3. Look at Resources, Roles, and Versatility

Resources, roles, and versatility are three subject areas that mean a great deal to your CMO. How can you stretch what you have to fit every role required? That’s a tricky question, but one that your CMO is always thinking about. Here are some ways to deliver on this quandary.

Maximize Resources

No matter the size of your marketing department, odds are there are still not enough bodies to do all the work. That’s why you need to be creative with resources. Consider how the right support system, namely technology platforms, can aide productivity and efficiency.

Impress your boss with what you know, and make recommendations when applicable. Not every tool or technology platform will break the bank. Some are even free.

Understand Your CMO’s Role

The responsibilities of your CMO may be far greater than you can imagine. A CMO often has ownership of many different parts of marketing. From ensuring that the brand’s voice is consistent to analyzing digital metrics, your CMO wears many hats. One moment, they may need to look at a project with a creative eye while other times a more logical one.

The modern CMO has the task of owning the customer experience though the entire lifecycle. It’s no longer marketing’s job to simply attract leads. Marketing has to foster the relationship all the way to the purchase and beyond. More than anything, the CMO must demonstrate a measurable ROI, so that marketing is considered a value not an expense.

If you understand all the roles your CMO must play, you have a much better chance at making an impact.

Display an Ability to Support All Marketing Goals

Your CMO has many responsibilities and with those come goals. The initiatives and campaigns must align with overall strategy. CMOs have to look forward to short-term and long-term. This can also mean changing targets.

Nothing in marketing is set in stone, so ensure your strategy is flexible. Other executives in the C-suite prioritize revenue increases over acquisition of new customer activities. Whereas, CMOs believe the focus should be on developing new products or services, customer acquisition, and then driving revenue.

So, when looking at what role you play, consider how you can help the CMO support all his or her objectives. If you can come up with approaches to zero in on his or her priorities, that’s even better. Proving to be a versatile team member demonstrates your commitment and value.

A Few Extra Tips

Now that you know some very specific ways to impress your CMO, here are a few more extra tips to help you get noticed and considered valuable.

  • Consider these elements in any interaction with your CMO: What’s the big idea? Why should your CMO care? How will your idea or knowledge help the CMO succeed?
  • Always come to the table with proof. Do your research and have numbers, use cases, or other evidence that substantiates your plan.
  • Take any opportunity to make your CMO look good. By equipping your CMO with data, ideas, trends, or strategies, he or she will be able to back up the team’s marketing efforts and show ROI.
  • Speak the same language. Know exactly what certain terms or elements mean to your CMO. Having the same vernacular allows everyone to be on the same page and have the appropriate expectations.

Ready to Impress your CMO?

There’s no magic approach or words to impress your CMO. Most of it comes down to hard work. There are a lot of things you can do in your first year to establish your merit within your team. When considering how to impress your CMO, remember the main concerns and objectives he or she as. This can include the customer experience, marketing’s changing role, technology, trends, resources, and roles. Prepare to share your ideas and have the data to back them up.

Consistently showing your CMO your passion and intellect leads to earning his or her respect. Achieving this will firmly establish your relationship and be crucial in building your career.