Client-side marketer ready to lead BMA

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Reflecting the Business Marketing Association's goal of broadening its membership and activities into deeper marketing-driven functions, incoming chairman Keith Pigues is the first client-side marketer who has been elected to lead the association.

Pigues, who serves as VP-marketing at CEMEX U.S., a cement and concrete products company based in Houston, will take over as BMA chairman at the association's annual conference June 13-15 in Las Vegas.

Prior to his role at CEMEX, Pigues was VP-corporate marketing at RR Donnelley in Chicago. He has also held senior marketing positions at Automatic Data Processing and Honeywell International.

In the following interview with BtoB, Pigues discusses the changing role of marketing and his vision for the BMA.

BtoB: What are the most pressing issues for the business marketing industry?

Pigues: I think there are probably three major issues for business marketers. First, marketers in business marketing organizations, or divisions of companies that are b-to-b, will have to play a much more important role in the strategic and financial success of their companies. B-to-b marketers will have achieved the desired level of performance when CEOs and members of the C-suite can make a direct link between marketing's contribution and improved company performance.

Second, b-to-b marketers must continually develop the right competencies to enable marketing to rise to the challenge and fill the gap in strategic growth leadership that exists in many organizations. Marketers must develop strategic, analytical, operational, and sales and marketing skills to address growth challenges.

Finally, the business marketing industry must hold itself accountable for delivering measurable performance in everything it does. Some progress has been made. Marketing performance measurement is one of the most critical areas required to remove the cost-center mentality that exists in most companies.

BtoB: How can marketing performance measurement improve?

Pigues: Currently, there are two categories of marketing performance metrics that are being used—strategic MPM metrics and tactical metrics (such as measuring campaign performance).

Most important, marketers need to collaborate with the senior business leadership, and in particular the finance function or the CFO, to develop metrics that matter so there is a common understanding of metrics that the entire organization supports and agrees with, as opposed to those metrics that are marketingcentric.

BtoB: How is the role of the CMO changing?

Pigues: The role of the CMO is probably experiencing greater change now than at any time since the inception of the role.

All CMOs and senior marketing leaders are being asked to contribute to the strategic growth of the company now more than ever before, which is a departure from the historic role of the CMO, which was a more narrow role in communications and branding.

The CMO has to bring solid analytical, operational and financial skills, as well as an understanding of business more broadly to really develop and execute sound marketing strategies. The CMO role also requires the development of systems and processes to enable the execution of marketing programs and plans consistently across the enterprise.

The CMO has to work more collaboratively with other senior leaders and really become a valued peer on the senior management team. It is critical for the credibility and eventual success of the CMO—the CMO can't operate in a vacuum.

Finally, the CMO and marketing organization must deliver measurable financial results, and in some cases CMOs have not been held accountable for that. I think that day is over.

BtoB: What are your goals as chairman of the BMA this year?

Pigues: My first goal is to continue to increase the value that the BMA provides to its members. One part of this is through professional development courses that meet the needs of a more diverse membership, such as value and pricing strategy, competitive analysis and market intelligence. Another part of this is sharing more insightful and practical thought leadership and proven practices to help our members with sustainable, profitable revenue growth. A third area of increasing value is facilitating connections among b-to-b marketers through our local chapters around the country and eventually around the world.

My second goal is to expand the BMA membership. Over the past year, the BMA membership has grown by 16%, which is pretty significant when you look at the fairly stagnant growth of industry associations. We see a real need for the services of the BMA, and we feel strongly that we can accelerate our membership growth by between 20% and 30% over the next year. We've targeted several areas for international growth, including Europe, China and India.

My third goal is to develop more partnerships and alliances with organizations that provide complementary services of value to the BMA membership. For example, we have partnered with the Institute for the Study of Business Markets (ISBM) to offer increased professional development courses, and we are exploring other types of partnerships.

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