14 Articles Every CMO Should Read

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post “The Myth that Marketing Automation Reveals Buyers’ Journeys” that explained there was increasing consensus among analysts, academics and consultants about changes in the buyer’s journey and the mandate for vendors to adapt to those changes in order to grow. Consolidating the research in one place demonstrates the flood of voices urging vendors to align with the customer, break down silos and bridge marketing and sales departments. Below is a collection of reading materials every marketing executive should sift through. Customer Centricity • A study by Booz & Company found that companies that offered valuable customization in a cost-effective way outperformed their peers in revenue growth two-to-one and had profit margins 5 to 10 percent higher than competitors. • A Forrester report on content marketing emphasized that the right content “requires a deep understanding of the buyers, their information needs, and their content sourcing preferences.” • An article in the International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management recommends an approach where “all business processes and all individuals are focused on identifying and meeting the needs of the customer.“ • Forrester has published a wealth of research aligned with the recommendations we give at New Business Strategies, including reports like “Transform To An Experience-Driven Organization” and “Become Customer-Centric, Service-Focused, And Automated.” • Forrester analyst Ronald Rogowski wrote a post urging readers to improve the digital customer experience. Forrester has also written reports about webinars, social media and other aspects of marketing and how to align them with the buyer’s journey. Marketing & sales alignmentHubSpot wrote a good post about overcoming the blame game between marketing and sales with open communication and more accountability. • One of my own blogs last year offers three metrics to measure the degree of sales and marketing alignment within your organization. • A report by Oracle says the friction between marketing and sales has gotten “cliché” and found that a lack of communication was at its heart. • Research by CSO Insights and IDC have identified four problems with a lack of marketing and sales alignment: longer sales cycles, missed quotas, lower productivity and less sales efficiency. (source) • A study by The Red Herring found that sales and marketing alignment was ranked a nine or ten on an importance scale of 10. (source) Breaking down silos • According to an article in HBR, executives identify silos as the top inhibitor of innovation, but silos can only be overcome if executives can embrace change. • Businessweek provided an overview of silos and some common approaches to overcoming them. • Forrester’s 2012 Tech Marketing Planning Guidance noted that marketing hasn’t made the drastic changes that are needed, because each year’s plan is based on last year’s marketing strategy. • IBM’s 2012 State of Marketing Survey called upon marketers to expand our role in the customer experience and break down silos.

Social ROI Is Not A Myth, Just Ask TD Bank Group

Early social businesses will tell you that the place to start is NOT with your customers. Instead start by replacing inefficient internal processes with social-based practices supported by technology. TD Bank Group is a good example of how to drive ROI. The Bank realized that to effectively compete it needed to evolve beyond social media. It had to become a social business and the place to start was ..... Read the complete post on Forbes.

What Does Trust Have To Do With Anything?

Ever been in a meeting where everyone seems to get along swimmingly? But the longer you sit there you start to get a sense that a play act is going on. The friendly banter is contrived, double entrendres abound, the proselytizers are taking turns, and the conversation doesn’t hit on the core reason for the meeting. It doesn’t matter if you’re in an uptight ‘suits’ or ‘jeans and t-shirt’ environment, company cultures these days suffer from a serious malaise. The lack of trust at all levels is at epidemic portions. I venture that few of you really trust your boss or cube farm neighbors.... Read the complete post on Forbes.

What does the Extinction of Dinosaurs and Social Business Have in Common?

A failure to adapt is the failure to survive. In the 1920s the average lifespan of a company was seventy odd years, today its fifteen years according to Dave Gray of Dachis Group. Organizations today are dinosaurs; stubborn, lumbering beasts fighting adaptation. Fortunately (or not) the 21st century is the equivalent of the Mesozoic age before the big meteor or [insert your favorite theory here] wiped the dinosaurs off the map. Social is today’s extinction event for organizations. Companies need to adapt or they will fail to survive… Read the complete post on Forbes.

The New Corporate Power Couple

In most organization, Sales has the most influence. They pay the bills, right? And that gives them the right to influence how product roadmaps evolve, which new markets to enter, and the programs that marketing and other departments conduct. Their intimate knowledge of the market and customers has guided companies to the best outcome available – revenue growth. Or so it was… Read the complete post on Forbes.

How Alignment Helped Sales Win

I heard a wonderful story last week about how a marketing team partnered with Sales to win a strategic deal and drive more revenue. This very large B2B enterprise technology vendor had an equally large retailer as a target account they wanted to win. The sales team did all the usual stuff of cold calling, networking, sending letters, inviting executive management to events but all that effort wasn’t breaking through the noise. Sales came to Marketing and asked for help; not expecting much... Read the complete post on Forbes.

Tipping Business in the Right Direction

Our economic situation is a sum total of all the activities and perspectives of businesses, citizens, investors, and governments. What plagues our economy is the same thing that hampers growth in our companies – doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting different results. Marshal Goldsmith said it well in his quote “What got you to here won’t get you there” and it is rather appropriate for our current situation. It would do us, and the economy, well if we gained some perspective for we are at a tipping point... Read the complete post on Forbes.