Had the following conversation with three different CEOs over the past month.  Each one started like this, “We have a great set of products but absolutely no marketing strategy to support them.”

Sound familiar?  Is this something you or your Sales Leader say about your company’s lack of marketing?

B2B Chief Marketing Officers and marketing organizations alike have been whipped into a frenzy over the past couple years with demands to transform their outdated operations and get with the times.  What sort of demands you ask?

Here’s a short list of the topics on the top half of every CMOs to-do list, right now!

  1. Social media
  2. Lead generation
  3. Sales 2.0
  4. Marketing automation
  5. Mobile
  6. Search engine optimization
  7. Micro-sites
  8. Big data
  9. Multi-channel communications
  10. Content
  11. Lead scoring
  12. Initiative-level ROI’s

Get the point?! 

Not wanting to get caught flat footed by their boss, Chief Marketing Officers dutifully spin as many plates as possible at once, dilute the effectiveness of their best internal resources, outsource and contract where they feel it makes sense and crank out the volume.  At the end of each month these same CMOs present their departmental dashboards to the executive team, demonstrating an overwhelming array of seemingly impressive charts, graphs, tables, trend lines and other PowerPoint candy (they are marketing you know) that proves their doing all the right things.  Most of it is mumbo jumbo to the rest of the executive team so they all keep quiet when question time rolls around.  Off the hook for another month, the CMO takes their seat.

Despite all this marketing activity it’s not unusual for the CEOs and Sales Leaders at these same companies to lament their company’s lack of traction with real prospects.   Here’s something we are finding in many of these situations: Marketing is skipping the foundation work necessary BEFORE implementing ANY of these tactical activities.   Meaning, the CMO has specifically defined with their CEO and Sales Leader the following:

  • Market(s) Where They Wish to Compete
  • Drivers and Issues Impacting Those Markets Which Their Company’s Products Address
  • Competition and Alternative Solutions They Must Overcome
  • Decision Makers, Influencers and Researchers Within their Prospect Companies
  • Trigger Events That Will Suggest Their Prospects Are Experiencing a Priority Shift
  • Content and Information Their Contacts Search For, At and Following, a Priority Shift (Buying Process Stages)
  • Tactical Plan for Engaging Those Contacts Prior To and Throughout The Buy Cycle
  • Definitions of a Qualified Lead and Agreement with Sales on a Handoff Process

Our experience is that only UNTIL this foundational marketing work has been completed and documented can a CMO build an effective marketing plan, budget and KPIs to measure the marketing activities they decide are optimal for their company.

Until then, they are just making noise.