If you examine the job descriptions of Chief Marketing Officers or Heads of Marketing, you’ll notice that the majority of them focus solely on tactical activities such as running ads, managing media, email marketing, SEO, and so on.
This precisely explains why marketers often struggle to earn a long-term place and trust in the C-Suite.
To solve this challenge:
1. Marketing leadership needs to demonstrate how marketing strategy and tactics align with the overall business strategy.
2. Illustrate how marketing strategies contribute to high-quality revenue growth and create brand and customer value.
3. Realize that strategic marketing goes beyond message and media management; it involves understanding the entire value chain of the business. For example, consider how the supply chain and procurement align with marketing. The idea is to think more cross-functionally.
4. Demonstrate the interlinkage between lagging indicators and lead indicators. Explore how brand equity determines profitability, how brand building can be a competitive advantage for the business, how marketing contributes to increased cash flow and how brand building can increase the inventory turnover ratio. The idea is to showcase marketing’s contribution to key business metrics.
5. Become the customer advocate inside the company and ensure the voice of the customer is heard when devising the overall business strategy.
6. Leveraging their access to valuable customer data, marketers can play a pivotal role in new product and market development initiatives. It means owning the customer insights to drive innovation.
7. In service firms, Marketing Heads can also serve as torchbearers of the organizational culture and coordinate with HR in employee engagement. This is because higher employee engagement leads to greater customer engagement.
Most of the high-quality and long-lasting marketing leaders that I have studied have adopted the mindset and behaviors outlined above.
They do not trivialize their role to just running ads but position themselves as the closest allies to Chief Finance Officers, Chief Technology Officers, Chief Operating Officers, and eventually gain the respect of the Chief Executive Officers.
If the CEOs still don’t perceive marketing as a strategic function, that’s another matter to discuss.