What's Keeping CMOs up at Night

Is Your Company Facing These Six Marketing Pitfalls?

It’s October, and for many organizations, it’s time to plan for the coming year. Consequently, my phone rings more this time of year than any other, and coffee meetings with chief marketing officers fill my calendar like that robust bowl of candy just before Halloween.

Want to join the conversation? Pour a cup and keep reading for a sampling of what’s on CMO’s minds.

Building internal support

I advise CMOs to bring together their CEO, COO, CFO and the heads of human resources and sales as often as necessary to set goals, monitor progress and course correct as needed to meet business objectives. Everyone knows information silos are counterproductive, but only through a living, breathing commitment to cross-disciplinary relationships are they overcome. And as dangerous as silos are, going too far the opposite direction should also be avoided. When all of PR and marketing are collapsed into product groups, transparency and a unified vision are often lost leading to bigger challenges and fiefdoms. Savvy CMOs know that a centralized corporate communications and marketing function protects the brand reputation and ensures a cohesive vision, execution and transparency around all aspects of a company’s reputation management.

Using your inside voice

At some level we probably all understand the importance of communicating with our employees, which is why I may never fully grasp why some CMOs still treat internal communications like an afterthought. If it’s loyalty, resilience and on-the-job excellence you want, roll out a two-way internal communication plan worthy of your most important stakeholder group.

Show and tell

Create excitement for your new strategic marketing plan with presentations to senior management and employees, and make sure everyone knows who’s who on your team to create role clarity and to also demonstrate the strength of your team. Keep enthusiasm high with progress reports throughout the year.

Saying no

Establishing a marketing plan is one thing. Sticking to it is quite another. When you are confronted with attempts to deviate from your plan, you’ll be glad you worked inclusively across the enterprise to set goals and strategies. If your marketing department is being treated like a vendor, you can bet the bigger vision is lost. When this happens, take a time out and get back on track.

Asking for help

Building a whip-smart internal team to execute your strategy is essential, but so is knowing when to look for help outside your organization. CMOs are expected to be experts, or have experts in their corner, on just about everything. My advice is to build consensus around a set of priorities and then ask for help where it’s most needed or where the most value can be realized.

Does any of this sound familiar? When you’re deep in thought and look into your cup of Joe are you seeing other goblins and ghouls lurking? What issues are you facing with your marketing plan? Or your transition into a new CMO role?

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