3 More Things Every CMO Wants Their CEO to Know


Digital Marketing

There’s a reason CMOs have the highest turnover rates of any position in the C-suite. 

Make that many reasons. 

Their duties are rarely well-defined, they’re held to measurement standards that aren’t realistic, they’re often micromanaged, and they often have to fight for every dollar in their marketing budget. 

But it doesn’t have to be this way. If you’re a CEO, this post is for you (as is this earlier post, “4 Things Every CMO Wants Their CEO to Know”). Here’s what you need to know to help your CMO stay in their position—and keep their sanity. 

Don’t focus on “account-based marketing.” 

To start, no one knows exactly what account-based marketing is. That’s the truth—there’s no agreed-upon definition. The gist seems to be marketing to multiple players at a target company with personalized messages. 

The thing is, if your CMO knows what she’s doing, she’s already working that way anyway. 

Personalization is integral to marketing today, whether you’re selling cloud-based software or heavy machinery. So is working hand-in-hand with sales, so you know whom you’re targeting and how to talk to them—at least, for marketing activities toward the bottom of the sales funnel. 

Adding in an unnecessary term like account-based marketing does what unnecessary jargon always does: it complicates things, confuses the issue, and takes attention away from what actually matters. 

If you trust your CMO, you can let them do what they do without micromanaging how they accomplish it. 

If you say you’re playing a long game, mean it. 

Lots of CMOs have heard their CEOs insist that they’re focused on long-term results, yet still demand—explicitly or implicitly—that marketing activities generate short-term returns. 

Expecting full ROI within 90 days is not only unrealistic, it’s also an ineffective way to lead. This is especially true given that Forrester’s latest data has shown it takes the average customer 21 interactions with a brand before they buy

So it will invariably take time for that full ROI to become clear. On top of that, consider that a comprehensive B2B marketing campaign today involves lots of different moving parts. There are paid ads and sponsored posts, influencer marketing campaigns, B2B PR, social media marketing, and the list goes on. 

It’s harder than ever to stand out from the online noise these days, so you’ve got to give your CMO the time and the tools they need to help your brand do just that. 

Don’t make them earn every marketing dollar in the budget. 

While we’re talking about full ROI, let’s look at another place that CMOs often get stonewalled: the marketing budget. 

While it’s true that marketing budgets aren’t as straightforward as those for some other departments, CMOs who have to make a case for every dollar in their budget are the ones who get burned out the fastest. 

They’re also the ones who are forced to spend money on activities that provide easy-to-understand results, but that aren’t actually that successful. That’s because they’re reacting to a culture that rewards measurement over value. 

What does that look like? It looks like CMOs who continue to do trade shows (which are very expensive and largely ineffective) and spend money on ads that don’t work, because at least then they can say, “Well, we spent this much on our booth and we got this many leads.” 

What isn’t discussed is how poorly those leads converted or how much less you could have spent in order to get them. And what the best CMOs want to do is start an industry-leading podcast, hire an influencer to run a series of live Q&As, and invest in digital PR.

They know that these things will work much better and produce a stronger ROI. But because it takes longer to see it, and it’s harder to translate that into a graph that trends upward, they don’t ask you for the money it would take to get these things off the ground. 

Think what your CMO could be capable of if they knew you trusted them and their ideas. And if you’re in between CMOs right now, check out our virtual CMO offering


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