Why the Future of Marketing Depends on a C-suite Partnership for Long-term Growth

With new trends, customer behaviors, and technologies transforming the industry at top speed, there has never been a better time to be in marketing. While marketing has frequently fueled big consumer product enterprises, its influence is now growing through B2B companies, start-ups, new products, and more to create long-lasting customer relationships.

Just think about where marketing sat five years ago. It was mainly responsible for product launch campaigns and advertising initiatives. Siloed from other major departments, such as finance, technology, and HR, there was little collaboration or visualized long-term data to report on.

Plan a campaign. Launch. Analyze. Repeat. That was marketing’s main function.

Fast forward to 2020 — 83% of CEOs now claim that marketing is a major growth driver. Considering that marketing was just a ‘branding’ function for companies in the past, this is a considerable jump that represents how far it has come.

Marketers are constantly learning how to connect in relevant ways with customers to develop long-term value. Because of that effort, CMOs have earned a seat at the table to partner with C-suite stakeholders and drive real growth.

In this article, you’ll discover how CMOs are leading the way for the future of marketing and fueling serious growth for the industry as a whole.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Marketing’s role within a company continues to evolve as CMOs fight to prove long-term value.
  • Successful CMOs collaborate with key C-suite stakeholders in finance, tech, and HR to drive results.
  • CMOs need buy-in from major players to push the marketing agenda and be effective.

The Future of Marketing: CMOs are Paving the Way

In the past, 80% of CEOs didn’t trust their CMOs, and average tenure was a mere 43 months. However, as a majority of businesses have shifted into the digital landscape, key stakeholders have discovered the power of marketing’s ability to deliver on impactful user experiences that drive ROI.

The truth is, marketing has moved beyond providing tactical solutions. Marketing has changed the landscape and now produces proactive strategies that create real results.

CMOs are at the forefront of this growth and are leading the charge for cross-collaboration between finance, HR, and technology departments. As the marketing leader, they have the unique opportunity to bring these partnerships together to form a greater vision that improves the overall customer experience.

While CEOs have started seeing marketing as the unifying factor between strengthened partnerships and company growth, CMOs still has a long road in convincing all members of the C-suite. However, while many stakeholders have an opinion on how a marketing agenda should operate — many C-suite professionals hold little expertise in the matter.

With 43% of CEOs not understanding marketing’s strategic business goals and 3% of board members having a marketing background, CMOs have the unique challenge of presenting strategies that both educate and demonstrate real results.

So, how can CMOs become the factor that drives business growth? Let’s take a look at the relationships CMOs need to form and the potential hurdles they face along the way.

Why Marketing is Becoming the Growth Driver for Organizations

By delivering top-line growth through marketing strategy and channels, CMOs can unify different departments to drive the company’s growth agenda. Successful CMOs need to focus on at least four different relationships and areas of expertise:

Leverage Support from Top Stakeholders

Bottom line: CMOs need support from the CEO to implement a marketing strategy that is backed by the rest of the C-suite leadership.

The first step is education. CMOs need to develop a strategy that explicitly details how marketing plans to drive growth, target the company’s overall goals, and serve the customer’s needs to produce results. It’s essential to paint CEOs a picture that includes:

  • Data-backed sources and statistics
  • An understanding of customer habits and trends
  • A vision for the end-to-end customer journey that touches everything from customer service to product development
  • Short – and long-term tactical initiatives that support the strategy and objectives

By developing a comprehensive strategy that hits on the CEOs agenda, CMOs become a partner and co-own future growth with key stakeholders.

Prove Significant Value from Real Results

Marketing is an investment.

Successful CMOs understand that the future of marketing hinges on the budget. With 35% of CFOs not understanding marketing’s impact on ROI, marketing strategies are often declined or not fully funded because they don’t define the end monetary goal.

CMOs need to prove and demonstrate that marketing provides predictable value through advanced analytics and financial terminology. To overcome this hurdle, CMOs shouldn’t focus on engagement, brand awareness, or sessions, but instead, embrace financial terms and metrics like:

  • ROI
  • Customer lifetime value
  • Customer acquisition cost
  • Net present value

In turn, each marketing tactic is driven by profit accountability and key performance indicators (KPIs) that matter to business growth and provide real value.

Once the CMO has the CFO in its corner, a full strategy budget is more likely to be approved, and collaboration becomes seamless.

Utilize Technology to Become Data-focused

Marketing and technology go hand-in-hand.

CMOs need reliable data to approach marketing with a customer-first mindset. After all, two out of three marketers agree that data-based marketing decisions beat gut instinct.

Data is paramount to earn greater customer loyalty, acquire new customers, and increase satisfaction over time. Without a data-focused marketing strategy, CMOs won’t be able to leverage advanced technology systems that integrate with channel tactics.

Through data that the CTO and tech platforms can provide, CMOs have greater insight into:

  • Customer behavior and buying cycle predictions
  • Pain points and audience insights
  • Ideal channel growth and target market segments
  • Interaction personalization

CMOs and CTOs have the opportunity to hold each other accountable and collaborate on shared goals that drive growth for the company. Not only does marketing receive needed IT resources, but they’re also given the right data to inform future decisions.

Attract Top Talent with Recruitment Alignment

To attract, retain, and engage top talent for an organization, the collaboration between the CMO and CHRO is essential. A successful recruitment strategy that’s driven by marketing ensures future employees are enabled to grow brand awareness and accelerate profitability.

With a saturated job market, legacy recruiting and traditional training programs no longer attract top talent. The CHRO needs a strategy that recruits a future generation that isn’t fooled by simple perks and benefits.

Together, CMO and CHRO leadership can:

  • Leverage marketing skills to attract talent for all positions
  • Engage with current employees to embody a positive work culture
  • Improve the onboarding process for incoming employees
  • Discover recruitment technology that engages with prospects on preferred platforms

With a scaled strategy, the CMO helps the CHRO understand how marketing and recruitment are tied to overall business objectives that further a long-term growth agenda. As natural partners, the CMO uses strategy to recruit top talent, and the CHRO implements marketing best practices to initiate a positive employee experience.

Drive Growth with a Holistic Marketing Strategy

Marketing delivers a customer experience that holds power to drive company growth.

With a recent fundamental shift in how C-suite views marketing, the CMO needs to push boundaries within the C-suite to hold further influence. While getting buy-in is still an ongoing challenge, many C-suite key stakeholders are beginning to understand marketing’s instrumental role in delivering key touchpoints throughout the entire customer journey.

CMOs must be highly effective in collaborating with other leadership members, taking calculated risks, and unifying the entire organization behind a marketing-led strategy.

Through holistic collaboration, CMOs bridge the gap and enable leadership to understand marketing’s full potential to drive real value. Successful CMOs work to:

  • Earn approval from the CEO to implement a scaled marketing strategy
  • Prove value to the CFO with predictable financial KPIs
  • Rely on technology to empower data-driven decisions with the CTO
  • Collaborate with the CHRO to recruit and engage with top talent

If you’re looking to drive growth through a content development strategy, learn more about our Content Builder Service today.

Michael Brenner  is a Top CMO, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Influencer, an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula" and he is the CEO and Founder of Marketing Insider Group, a leading Content Marketing Agency . He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael helps build successful content marketing programs for leading brands and startups alike. Subscribe here for regular updates.

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