What are the Critical Factors for the Success of a New CMO?

Did you know that for small to mid-size organizations, a CMO usually survives a maximum of a year to 18 months? It's been a fast revolving door for anyone working with digital marketing technology.

So, the questions I always help our clients work on are:

  1. For a new CMO who is joining a new organization, what is her/his thought process?
  2. Branding: Are you going to rebrand or keep the existing brand?
    1. What are your assets?
    2. What are your liabilities?
    3. How much will it cost you to go through the exercise of rebranding?
  3. What attributes can help you make a decision of “should I rebrand or not?”
    1. Tagline: does it represent the company (products, services, culture?)
  4. Does it Show:
    1. What customers are thinking (new markets you’re going after).
    2. Does it match where your employees are living each and every day, and will it help you attract new employees that will match the culture of your company?

In summary, are you living this brand, do you need to rebrand, or are you just going through the exercises of rebranding because it is a peer pressure as a new CMO, and you want to put your finger print on a highly visible project? You need to be very honest with yourself as a leader within the organization and know if that is truly what will help your organization move forward or not.

Note: the usual famous perceptions in the industry when an new CMO joins are:

  1. Where are the new PPT templates?
  2. What are we going to call ourselves as an organization for the next 12-18 months till another CMO joins? “Do not follow blindly, and put the customer at the center of your process.”
  3. Campaigns: This is usually the next stop station for a CMO.
    1. Spend time with all your direct reports to understand what campaigns are in place, what is working, and what is not working.
    2. Are your Campaigns fragmented?
    3. Does everyone have a common vernacular view of what is the correct definition of a campaign and what should they be doing?

Note: do not confuse activities with inbound marketing campaigns.

Usually, this stop is an early intense focus for a new CMO after deciding if they will be going through a rebranding exercise or not.

More: Picking the Right Marketing Automation Software for Your Organization: Part 2 and Picking the Right Marketing Automation Software: Part 1

  1. Budgeting Process: This is the third stop for a CMO in their first 90 days.
    1. If done properly it can be very productive.
    2. Not a popular exercise, but it will help having all your marketing division on the same page.
    3. This will take you 3-4 meetings.
  2. Have PPT slides that summarize:
    1. What are you spending your budget on?
    2. Make it visible, and have an accountability matrix to record it.
    3. Make it a transparent process.
  3. Try to focus on long-term goals.
    1. Drive demand generation.
    2. Lead nurturing.
    3. Lead conversion.
  4. Educating and advising.
    1. Your existing clients (B2B)
    2. Your future prospects (human brand to human need)
    3. Your channel organization (group 2 group marketing)

As the executive leader of your division, this stop will be one of the most highly visible elements when reporting back to the board of directors including the CEO/CFO and other board advisors. You might find yourself making some hard decisions during this stop as well. Some of them will be:

  1. Do you have the right people in the right seats?
  2. Do you have all the right seats?
  3. Do you need to consolidate the seats
  4. Do you have the right marketing agency as partners and are they as progressive in their thinking as you are?
  5. Do you need to replace them?
  6. Are you using the correct Marketing automation software tools and CRM tools to help your division in their day-to-day operations as a CMO?
  7. Analytics. What are your datasets?
  8. What is a customer to your organization, how do you define a customer? Who are they?
  9. Is your organization deciding to not follow blindly other organizations and have they started truly embracing the inbound marketing methodology?
  10. Does your team understand the different between inbound marketing and outbound marketing?
  11. Can you build your process around both at the same time?
  12. Does your team understand that content marketing is a subset of inbound marketing?
  13. What is your buyer's journey map? Do you know the persona and have you identified it? What is your buyer's sales cycle?
  14. Does your marketing engine connect with your buyer's sales cycle?
  15. Can you trust your analytics and can it really represent what you see with your sales team or is it again another nice tool that gives you amazing colourful reports that are an absolute waste of time and money, and also meaningless?