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Mind Your P&Ls If You Want To Stay In The C-Suite

Posted on February 21, 2012

I recently read CMG Partner’s fourth “CMO Agenda,” where they interviewed 30 “game-changing” marketers in the US, about trends in our space.

So what makes these marketing leaders game changing?

They are getting into that area that marketers traditionally fear to tread, the ROI.  They are becoming trusted advisors to CEOs and doing the unthinkable-leveraging their roles in marketing to show just how much their efforts impact the bottom line.

Just last week, I had a similar conversation with one of my clients.  This client had a meeting with a new marketing director and asked him what his business’ overall goals were, not just his marketing department’s goals.  This marketing chief had no idea.  It’s no wonder the average tenure of a CMO is less than 24 months.  You better believe a CFO would have known what the overall revenue goals of the company were.

Marketing is not separate from sales – Marketing supports sales

Whether deserved or not, marketing has the perception in most companies of being a cost center, one that creates pretty pictures but not a lot of substance.  All of that sales collateral you’re churning out every year – your sales department probably is only using about 25% of it.

What does this mean for your agency?

In a word – retention.  Chances are more likely that your agency will keep your clients longer if you can keep that decision maker who brought you on board employed longer.

New CMOs usually want to bring in their agencies and get rid of the incumbent agencies.  So if you’re not helping that CMO stick around, chances are in 18 – 19 months when that CMO is refreshing up her LinkedIn page, you will be searching for some new opportunities as well.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is KNOW your client’s bottom line.  The next time you’re talking to your client about a new product launch or direct mail campaign, ask her what the business objectives are, what kind of ROI are you expecting, how does this help the company drive in business?

Lots of green is the prettiest picture any marketing agency can create for its clients.

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