One thing I’ve come to realize in the last year or so is that your day-to-day skills change dramatically the further along you go in your career, because the daunting requirements for marketing and marketing technology change just as much.
I would bet if you did an informal study of CMOs with more than 20 years of practical marketing experience, you’d come across two high-level pieces of feedback.
First you would hear that the general principles of marketing apply to both B2B and B2C. I would agree with that. The basics of understanding your audience, identifying their motivations and delivering a message that resonates are core to being an effective marketer.
Secondly, I think you would hear that tactically those CMOs will admit they are completely out of their comfort zone when it comes to the daily execution of their marketing strategies.
Tactically, things change all the time. For example, app marketing is a world unto itself. Getting consumers to be aware of an app and its value requires an extremely granular approach of influencing the influencers. Influencer marketing at this level goes down to community marketing, reviews, SEO and more. Each of these are tactics which are highly focused on products, features and specifications. You can certainly go the route of marketing benefits and emotional attachment with an app, but these are like capturing lightning in a bottle.
Most CMOs are trained in higher-level approaches and are vastly outgunned when it comes to the street-level tactics of influencer marketing at this guerrilla level. Most apps are simply trying to leverage app stores and search to reach a wider audience in the hope that happy users become “raving fans” and they start to share the word.
Most CMO’s have never been in the trenches manipulating keywords in the app store, so they rely on a valuable tactical team to get these things done. If you catch a virtual wave and get some traction, then other influencers pick up on it and the word starts to spread by itself. The same can be applied in a B2B environment, but it’s much more difficult.
One amazing example of this is Slack, which was able to gain traction and create virality in the developer world and eventually saw that virality catch hold in other areas of business as well
If you are a CMO and you have never truly executed these tactics by yourself, how can you succeed? How do you battle the fact that most CMOs don’t last in their roles beyond two or three years? The best way to do so is get out of your own way and focus on what you do know. Good CMOs will build a great team, manage that team productively and put their ego to the side, surrounding themselves with people who are at least as smart — if not smarter — than they are.
Your job is to understand the high-level needs of your target and whether these tactics are delivering a message that resonates, and that delivers the accountable metrics your business requires to succeed.
As a CMO, you can’t be the best at everything your company needs to be done, but you can be the best person to identify the needs and find solutions, then manage the team to execute and exceed those goals.
To be a great CMO, you need to be the voice of your customer and you need to be the voice for your team. You need to translate one to the other and vice versa, and then you can achieve success.