A CMO’s Tale

A CMO’s Tale
// Business | Business 2 Community

A CMO’s Tale image firedCEOs of today’s B2B organizations are becoming laser focused on profit, execution of strategy and top-line revenue growth and they expect every department in the organization to be aligned with these key goals. For many, the area that gives them the most heartburn – based on budget and non-goal alignment – is marketing.

For CMOs, this could mean big trouble. If your marketing organization isn’t making a measurable impact on revenue, your job could be in jeopardy.

This article presents three key questions you should ask yourself as a CMO to determine if you need to change your strategy.

Here’s your first question:

Question #1: How aligned is marketing to the organization’s overall revenue goals in a direct and measurable way and not the “fuzzy math” kind of connection?

  • If you can honestly answer that your marketing goals are directly aligned with those of the business, ask for a raise!
  • For everyone else, get in step – and fast! Executive alignment is as basic as it gets.

Easy question, right? Now let’s move on to the next question to help you determine if you are on the right track.

Question #2: When you show up to the monthly board or executive committee meeting, what kind of metrics do you present? (I know the mention of this monthly presentation probably brings on another round of heartburn, but try to focus on the question.)

Are your metrics typically activity-based?

  • # of impressions
  • # of ads
  • # of tradeshows
  • # of e-mails sent
  • % of Opens, click-thrus and conversions
  • Costs

Most CEOs call these metrics, “Who gives a flip metrics!” If you are only presenting these kinds of activity-based metrics, you need to change your approach and change it now! This is old school for a B2B organization given the new technologies available today that allow marketing to make a direct contribution to top-line revenue growth and to do it in a repeatable, predictable and scalable fashion.

Or, are your metrics revenue-focused?

  • # of Sales Ready Leads (SRL) sent to sales
  • % Conversion of SRL to opportunity
  • % Conversion to close
  • % Contribution to pipeline from marketing
  • # Days to close
  • ROI

If you are already reporting revenue-focused metrics, again – ask for a raise! Chances are that you are currently being recruited because of your skill mix and experience! CMOs who are focused on revenue metrics are generally using the optimal mix of people, process and technology to grow top-line revenue.

Hopefully, you are already doing these things and hitting it out of the park every month. But if you are still confused about your role, consider this final scenario:

Question #3: You are putting together your 2015 strategic plan. As CMO, which of the following are the top strategic initiatives you will present to the executive team?

  • Improve use of search.
  • Improve conversions.
  • Improve use of social media.
  • Create new website/messaging/colors.
  • Grow number of leads sent to sales.
  • Improve number of impressions from ad spend.

While these are all valid concerns for any marketing department, compare it to the next set of answers. The above initiatives should only be part of the plan – especially if your company has big revenue growth plans in 2015. If your answer stops here, you won’t have job security for long! Consider these strategic initiatives instead:

  • Execute a revenue marketing strategy in which marketing will grow its contribution to the sales pipeline by 200% through marketing sourced, highly qualified leads; improve opportunity velocity by 20%; and impact overall deal size by 11%.
  • Create a marketing funnel and process with standard conversion rates from inquiry to close so marketing can begin forecasting revenue impact – not just reporting on past history.
  • Conduct a skills gap analysis on my current team around this journey to revenue marketing. What skills do you need to add, replace or train?
  • Re-organize the marketing organization around the revenue marketing competency.
  • Develop the key processes and tools across sales and marketing to help us drive a repeatable, predictable and scalable revenue impact on top-line growth.
  • Select and implement or improve the use of your revenue marketing solution. NOTE: There is an entire new generation of technologies out there called marketing automation, demand generation, revenue performance management and Revenue Marketing (a term coined by The Pedowitz Group) to help marketing directly contribute to revenue growth. This is NOT simply CRM or fancy e-mail systems.

So, how did you do? For the B2B enterprise organization, marketing’s role should now be to fully participate in the revenue discussion. Today’s B2B CMO should sound like a VP of Sales – not the head of a creative agency. If you are not stepping up to this new reality, your job may be at risk. Are you ready?

Given the current round of CMO’s movement, I thought I would check in and find out what you are seeing in the market?


Amazon’s new ad network has a secret weapon against Google AdWords: shopping data

Amazon’s new ad network has a secret weapon against Google AdWords: shopping data
// VentureBeat

Amazon’s new ad network has a secret weapon against Google AdWords: shopping data

Above: Amazon’s Jeff Bezos at a 2010 event.

Image Credit: Jurvetson/Flickr

The secret to delivering relevant ads is data. Demographic, psychographic, personal data. Google has data on what we search for, Facebook has data on what we like and share, but Amazon’s data may be the best of all for targeting ads. It has data on what we browse and buy.

That’s why yesterday’s revelations that Amazon is gearing up to launch its own ad network are particularly interesting: Amazon could offer retailers a much-wanted alternative to Facebook and Google ads, and Amazon may prove to be better suited than either of its rivals at putting ads in front of consumers that actually get clicked.

The new ad network, which Amazon is calling “Amazon Sponsored Links,” will also set up back end systems that allow ad agencies to “buy audiences” by buying ads in bulk. The agencies would then place ads on behalf of their clients based on the target audience demographic of the product.

Again, those ads would be targeted to consumers using a sophisticated real-time system that knows the viewer’s product preferences, as expressed by their browsing and buying history on Amazon.

If all this happens, Amazon’s new platform would look a lot like Google’s AdWords program, in which more than a million users bid on ad inventory on sites all over the web..

Right now Google and other third parties place ads for clients on Amazon, but that will likely be the first thing to change. Like Facebook and Google, Amazon will place its own clients’ ads on its own site.

Amazon already has a small program that can place ads for clients on other sites. But reports yesterday say the program will get much bigger, and will run different sorts of ads. Amazon likely will launch a wider ad network through which it will be able to target ads for advertisers on lots of partner sites around the web.

Amazon has already told some of its existing advertising partners that it will launch the new ad network later this year.

This could be a particular threat to Google, whose business rests on the $50 billion or so it makes every year on web ads.

An ad network would add one more battleground on which Amazon is competing with Google. Google Shopping puts up a small fight against the Amazon site. The Google Shopping Express competes with Amazon’s AmazonFresh and local pick-up services. Both companies now make phones, and the two are currently in a price war in the cloud storage market.


Estimote launches a Bluetooth Beacon sticker to add context to the internet of things

Estimote launches a Bluetooth Beacon sticker to add context to the internet of things
// MoCoNews
Beacon provider Estimote is getting deeper into the context business with Bluetooth-enabled stickers called Nearables that will let your smartphone know more about it’s environment and enable developers to build powerful new experiences.

Estimote launches a Bluetooth Beacon sticker to add context to the internet of things originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2014.

Continue reading….


Article: Are Businesses Prepared for the Internet of Things?

Are Businesses Prepared for the Internet of Things?
// eMarketer Articles and Blog Posts

The internet of things (IoT) is coming. While the majority of business execs have heard of the concept, fewer than half of that group knows what it actually means. Among industries, high-tech/IT professionals are the most likely to be prepared to optimize the IoT, while healthcare and manufacturing execs lag far behind.


4 Strategies For Remembering Everything You Learn

4 Strategies For Remembering Everything You Learn
// SAI

chalkboard teacher black white

If you’re going to learn anything, you need two kinds of prior knowledge

• knowledge about the subject at hand, like math, history, or programming

• knowledge about how learning actually works

The bad news: Our education system kinda skips one of them, which is terrifying, given that your ability to learn is such a huge predictor of success in life, from achieving in academics to getting ahead at work. It all requires mastering skill after skill

“Parents and educators are pretty good at imparting the first kind of knowledge,” shares psych writer Annie Murphy Paul. “We’re comfortable talking about concrete information: names, dates, numbers, facts. But the guidance we offer on the act of learning itself — the ‘metacognitive’ aspects of learning — is more hit-or-miss, and it shows.”

To wit, new education research shows that low-achieving students have “substantial deficits” in their understanding of the cognitive strategies that allow people to learn well. This, Paul says, suggests that part of the reason students perform poorly is that they don’t know a lot about how learning actually works. 

It’s a culture-wide issue.

Henry Roediger and Mark McDaniel, psychologists at Washington University in St. Louis  and coauthors of “Make It Stick: The Science Of Successful Learning,” say that “how we teach and study is largely a mix of theory, lore, and intuition.”

So let’s cut through that lore. Here are learning strategies that really work. 

Force yourself to recall.  

The least-fun part of effective learning is that it’s hard. In fact, the “Make It Stick” authors contend that when learning if difficult, you’re doing your best learning, in the same way that lifting a weight at the limit of your capacity makes you strongest. 

It’s simple, though not easy, to take advantage of this: force yourself to recall a fact. Flashcards are a great ally in this, since they force you to supply answers.

Don’t fall for fluency.

When you’re reading something and it feels easy, what you’re experiencing is fluency.

It’ll only get you in trouble.

Example: Say, for instance, you’re at the airport and you’re trying to remember which gate your flight to Chicago is waiting for you at. You look at the terminal monitors — it’s B44. You think to yourself, oh, B44, that’s easy. Then you walk away, idly check your phone, and instantly forget where you’re going. 

The alternative: You read the gate number. Then you turn away from the monitor and ask yourself, what’s the gate? If you can recall that it’s B44, you’re good to go. 

Connect the new thing to the old things.

“The more you can explain about the way your new learning relates to prior knowledge,” the Make It Stick” authors write, “the stronger your grasp of the new learning will be, and the more connections you create that will help you remember it later.” 

When you’re weaving in new threads into your pre-existing web of knowledge, you’re elaborating. 

One killer technique is to come up with real-life examples of principles you’ve just uncovered. If you’ve just learned about slant rhyme, you could read poems that exhibit it. If you’ve just discovered heat transfer, you could think of the way a warm cup of cocoa disperses warmth into your hands on a cold winter’s day.

Reflect, reflect, reflect.

Looking back helps. In a Harvard Business School study, employees who were onboarded to a call center had 22.8% higher performance than the control group when they spent just 15 minutes reflecting on their work at the end of the day. 

“When people have the opportunity to reflect, they experience a boost in self-efficacy,” HBS professor Francesca Gino tells us. “They feel more confident that they can achieve things. As a result, they put more effort into what they’re doing and what they learn.”

While reflecting may seem like it leads to working less, it leads to achieving more. 

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