The business world today places intense demand for a
quantifiable ROI on every dollar of marketing expenditure -- and an
overly optimistic expectation that digital will be able to deliver
What are we left with? Misaligned needs and expectations all
over the place. Organizations look to marketing to deliver
attributable short-term sales with little or no regard for
long-term brand health.
That's not a recipe for long-term success. And I've got news for
you: "Long-term" is only a year away.
As a marketer, you need to have a balanced view. Let's say
you're a CPG marketer. If all you cared about was driving sales,
you'd pour all your money into retail promotions -- but you'd have
invested absolutely nothing in changing the attitudes and
perceptions that make people love your brand. Those sales would
fall of a cliff the second you stopped promoting.
If you don't build brand while you drive sales, you're pouring
ocean water into the sand.
One telling observation in the research is that in some
categories, up to 90% of sales are influenced by the web, while 80%
of purchases are actually made in a brick-and-mortar store. That
insight implies we should be very thoughtful about the role of
digital to influence, but not necessarily close the sale.
But many CMOs don't have a mandate to use digital thoughtfully.
They are pressured to focus through a myopic lens.
In other words, in order to truly succeed they need to do their
job in a different way than everyone else around them wants and
expects them to. The net result? They either wind up with their
head on the chopping block or say, "Screw this," and quit.
One telling statistic comes from a recent Salesforce report:
83% of marketers in
organizations rated as "high performers" say their execs are
completely committed to supporting their overall marketing
strategy. That's compared to only 31% in low-performing marketing
organizations. I'd venture to guess that a pretty high percentage
of CMO turnover is coming from the low performers.
As someone who has run an agency for fifteen years, I learned
the hard way long ago that if we don't set the right expectations,
make sure stakeholders are in alignment with those expectations,
and then deliver on them, we're going to lose that client a year
down the road.
Before you can set the right expectations you need to make sure
your client shares your point of view. That requires direct
conversations to educate, and sometimes change mindsets. Sometimes
that's hard. Clients hire us to help them be successful, not tell
them what they already know -- but changing perceptions is a
difficult task. Difficult, but essential.
CMOs have clients too, nowadays. Strategy connects the dots
between what you do and why you do it.
My advice? Make sure your clients understand the "what" and the