Does your B2B CEO trust you?

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Digital Transformation

There were two surveys conducted in recent times that reinforced what many senior C-Suite marketing executives know intuitively: that in far too many cases they are not trusted as much in pure management terms as some of their peers.

In the Digital Pulse conference in Boston in 2013, Jason Stewart, content strategist at Annuitas, revealed research indicating that 80% or so of CEOs do not trust their marketing people’s work. Sadly this was not an isolated finding.

In an earlier 2012 study by Fournaise, 71% of worldwide B2B CEOs felt that their CMOs were not fulfilling their primary function of generating leads and customer demand that the salesforce can then convert. They felt that too many CMOs were trying to ‘own’ customer conversion and sales metrics that properly belonged to the sales function. And the marketers were seen as being too wrapped up in digital technology rather than keeping things simple and focusing on the core marketing tasks. It should all be about, in their view:

1. Having the right product mix
2. Selling the benefits, not the features
3. Creating rich marketing content
4. Adding value to the brand(s)

And I believe that these observations hold equally well, two years on. So when looking forward to the 2015 year, it is an excellent maxim to train yourself to be the voice in the room asking what the point of each technical discussion is. This applies when working with your internal team and when dealing with your external digital agency.

What is the Boss looking for?

If you are looking for further clues as to what your CEO expects, then here is what 85% of B2B bosses in the same survey endorsed as being the main measures of marketing success:

• Prospect volume
• Prospect quality
• Marketing Effectiveness (% of spend that actually generates prospects)
• Business potential actually delivered by Marketing

Do your peers suffer similar criticism? Sadly not. B2B bosses rate their CFOs and CIOs more highly because they see them as being much easier to measure and judge, as well as being more focused on what they have to achieve. Hard numbers are what they deal in, and they are accountable for every penny that they spend.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

If you want to feel even worse about your standing in the organisation, then I have to tell you that nearly two-thirds of CEOs worldwide think (to some degree) that there is a place called ‘la la land’ which is inhabited by marketing people. This puts me in mind of the race of management people in ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ and their Chairman and Marketing lady who is having problems focusing on her project to invent the wheel:

What about this wheel thingy? Sounds a terribly interesting project to me.
Marketing Lady:
Er, yeah, well we’re having a little, er, difficulty here…
Ford Prefect:
Difficulty?! It’s the single simplest machine in the entire universe!
Marketing Lady:
Well alright Mister Wise Guy, if you’re so clever you tell us what colour it should be!

Digital Marketing

Digital – the new Marketing paradigm

Is there some better news? Yes, and it resides in the new type of digital marketing. Compared to traditional offline marketing, where (especially in the B2B arena) your armoury was very diffuse, wasteful and hard to measure (trade magazine ads, sponsorship, PR, etc.) the new breed of digital media have the precision of a fencing blade. Using the algorithms provided by the likes of LinkedIn, Google and Twitter you can reach specific types of individual buyers who are relevant, in your target groups, and in the right geographical places – and you will often only pay for actual responses or other actions that they take in response to your digital marketing.

All you have to do now – and I suggest you make it your New Year Resolution – is to persuade your CEO that you are on top of this trend and you are delivering measurable results that provide Sales with all the precise weapons and ammunition that they need for their own campaigns.

And if you are not satisfied that your current digital agency is providing the sort of service that will achieve the digital transformation of your business: then Hannon Digital stands ready to work with you in 2015.