To say that chief marketing and chief financial officers have historically had a taut relationship is an understatement. CFOs often look at the marketing function as a soft cost — purely in terms of profit and expense. They typically don’t understand the ethereal nature of traditional marketing metrics, such as “brand awareness,” “positioning” and “shifting perceptions.” In fact, the CFO party line on the marketing organization is that it has dodged financial accountability for far too long and after extensive investment.
In a down economy, that’s code for slash your budget or prove your worth.
CMOs need to take on the mantle of leadership and learn the CFO’s lexicon for return on investment. By creating a data-driven culture, you can translate your creative strategies into terms the CFO can understand and support.
One of the best places to start this effort is by employing a strong web analytics expert, one that a web analytics recruiter can help you identify. Websites consume corporate dollars, and it’s a reasonable demand to prove with cold, hard facts that the investment is worthwhile. Although more marketing departments are taking the reins of web analytics away from IT, most are still clumsily fooling around with it. Most organizations haven’t really figured out how to take advantage of this treasure trove of data.
It’s not for lack of trying. Forrester Research estimates that businesses will spend $953 million dollars on web analytics in 2014, with an average annual growth of 17% from 2009. Still, it likens web analytics to a teenager in terms of maturity in the corporate marketing sphere.
The challenge, therefore, is before you. Marketing has a reputation for being surrounded by data but often falling short of effectively leveraging it. CMOs need to shift their work from the more subjective, intuition-driven approaches to a more objective, analytical and data-driven operation.
In practical terms, the shift has four distinct tracts. You are closely watching data, such as traffic sources and volume increases, conversion and bounce rates, etc. But the next step is moving beyond tracking to data analysis. Link the experiences your targeted audience is having on your corporate websites with your marketing programs, using your traditional measurements. Explicitly connect your work to data from your analytics.
Next, cross over from being data-informed to data-driven. That is, make decisions and changes in your marketing programs based on that data. All of this is quite an undertaking, but you’re not done yet. The fourth element is presenting your analysis in ROI terms, aligning your marketing measures with corporate goals and objectives, including profit, growth and savings.
We’ve seen this changeover take place a few times, in which interim marketing executives go in and create web analytics programs where none existed previously and begin to make the shift toward data driving marketing decisions.
Both chief executives understand to a certain extent that there is a bit of intangible when it comes to marketing. A bit of magic, a dose of uncertainty and an unending quest for perfection in timing. Even CFOs grasp the concept of assumption. When justifying your need for marketing dollars, consider a language soaked in fiscal responsibility and methodical analysis.
Web analytics is a good place to start, because of the web’s growing centrality to business. But it’s not the only place. In our next post, we’ll unpack more practical steps in shifting their culture and the other domains CMOs need to mine for data.
Marketing today is largely influenced by how technology is used to understand consumer behavior. According to a study involving 1700 Chief Marketing Officers conducted by IBM, there are four major changes that are “pervasive, universal game-changers”: the data explosion, social media, proliferation of channels and devices, and shifting consumer demographics. Web analytics are a critical tool for taking advantage of these game-changing factors, and as a response to this influence, web analytics classes, seminars, certifications, panel discussions, and Master’s programs are popping up on the Internet and at academic institutions across the country. Your companies web analytics skill sets will become a vital part of the Marketing 2.0 horizon.
The most effective format for an education in web analytics is still uncertain and under development, and businesses cannot wait for academia to set the course in this rapidly-changing environment. There is a need for on-the-job adjustment. The deepest fear CMOs have, according to a recent Forbes article, is “that they themselves, and much less their teams, won’t know how to regenerate the relevance of their brands in this [rapidly changing] environment.” Ironically, because the environment is changing so rapidly, new marketing professionals have many of the same fears.
According to MarketPro Vice President Cindy Underwood, “Many young professionals are challenged to find opportunities in the field because of their lack of experience.” However, Underwood sees very few companies that are willing to provide the necessary training needed to start the future web analytics professionals. She suggests two approaches: provide more internships for young professionals seeking experience, and offer those professionals with a well-rounded knowledge of marketing the opportunity to expand their skills.
The question becomes, what skills do companies need to be targeting as they expand their marketing teams and supporting the development of in existing talent?
Underwood believes that the best analysts are not specialists. Instead, they have a great abundance of knowledge across a variety of business subjects such as usability, product, marketing, advertising, and media – with a thirst for knowledge that keeps them at the leading edge of new development. What they understand best is revenue growth and profitability, but they are also great collaborators. These practitioners are not just producing reports; they are looking for problems and then finding the data to make recommendations to fix them.
In the end, the skill set most beneficial to the CMO will be trust: trust in their team’s ability to offer help with new ideas and with social media, trust in their end users’ feedback with regard to perceived value and the digital storefront, and trust in the data and the advantage of technology to their business.
MarketPro is the leading marketing staffing and marketing executive search firm in the United States. Whether your need is interim / contract or direct placement, we provide top companies with talent that exceeds expectations both functionally and culturally. Our recruiters know the best marketing talent, because they are experienced marketers. MarketPro places talent in all marketing related disciplines and does so in less time with a higher success ratio than anyone else in the industry.
Traditional web statistics provide tremendous quantities of information about our B2B and B2C relationships. Every click and the duration of every transaction can be tabulated to provide a clear picture of interest and give insight into the effectiveness of promotions and design. It is the nontraditional channels, however, that take web analytics to the next level.
Consider the free Starbucks iPhone app. For the consumer, it is a handy Starbucks locator, a rewards program, and a cardless way to pay for a latte. For the merchant, it is so much more, a literal treasure trove of personalized information. Starbucks knows that a given customer purchases a bold grande and a slice of marble loaf every morning around 8am, and usually springs for a pumpkin latte three evenings a week. Starbucks probably also knows that this customer is male, aged 35-45, so the obvious demographic metrics fall into placeData mining from social networking sites like Facebook can also yield phenomenal results. To continue with Starbucks as an example, consumers can sign up to win free coffee or even free flights on Southwest on the Starbucks Facebook page. Analytics algorithms acquaint themselves with the registered customer base by examining a customer’s profile: extrapolating age from high school graduation dates, taking note of jobs, and creating a range of likely salaries – all before mining the data from the friends list.
Apps, social networking, blogs, interest groups and other nontraditional channels are a vehicle for substantial data collection and candid statistical analysis, but it is the split second, quantifiable interpretation of the data that lays the foundation for an effective campaign and viral consumer networking that makes a business a better investment than gold.
It isn’t just data anymore. It isn’t just information. It is intelligence.
Equipped with an innovative web analytics department, CMOs can know precisely who their customers are and what drives sales. With comprehensive web analytics, we learn exponentially more about products and market behavior than with websites and surveys. As the traditional and nontraditional channels inevitably merge, highly effective customized, targeted, and personal marketing for both businesses and consumers will result.
In our next post, we’ll look at the necessary skill sets CMOs need in their burgeoning web analytics departments.
MarketPro is the leading interim marketing executive and marketing recruitment firm in the USA. Whether your need is interim / contract or direct placement, we provide top companies with talent that exceeds expectations both functionally and culturally. Our recruiters know the best marketing talent, because they are experienced marketers. MarketPro places talent in all marketing related disciplines and does so in less time with a higher success ratio than anyone else in the industry.
An effective marketing strategy is one of the most vital components to getting a startup off the ground. The problem, however, is that most venture-based startups don’t really have the capital to put a seasoned marketing executive in place. Instead, Venture Capitalist-backed startups typically bring in someone with often significantly less experience – and more fiscally palatable salary demands, of course – and throw them directly into the fire.
More often than not, junior-level professionals simply can’t develop the marketing strategy needed for a significant start-up to be successful. The practical ideas they generate are often very good, but less effective without the benefit of an senior-level perspective for the marketing direction of the company.
So how does a start-up get past these hurdles? Outsourcing the work to agencies or an independent consultant are often more costly than hiring a full-time executive. A much better option is to bring in someone on an interim basis, typically six to nine months, to work with the company’s chief officers in drafting a comprehensive marketing strategy. You get the benefit of having an experienced professional on your team at a crucial time in the company’s development without having to swallow the steep salary that an individual of that caliber would demand over the long haul.
It’s the same general principle as bringing in an experienced software architect at the beginning to help design the entire system. Once everything is in place, you have the flexibility to bring in lower-level employees to implement the ideas. Software development companies don’t have to pay coders anywhere near what they would have to shell out to keep a high-level software architect on the payroll. Marketing is no different. The junior-level employees have an important role to fill, but they are much more valuable to a startup because of their ability to put a plan into action.
MarketPro is the leading interim marketing executive and marketing executive search firm in theUSA. Whether your need is interim / contract or direct placement, we provide top companies with talent that exceeds expectations both functionally and culturally. Our recruiters know the best marketing talent, because they are experienced marketers. MarketPro places talent in all marketing related disciplines and does so in less time with a higher success ratio than anyone else in the industry.
Marketing Sherpa recently conducted a survey of 1700 BtoB marketers to discover their specific blocks to success. What was their number one obstacle? 62% of all marketers surveyed identify lack of resources in staffing, budgeting or time as the greatest barrier to their marketing success.
The historical solution to that age-old problem was to hire a consultant. But put the word “consultant” at the end of anything, and it quickly gets expensive. Yet on-demand marketing expertise is exactly what Fortune 500 and Global 2000 companies need in order to set the pace in today’s ever-changing marketplace. How do the successful ones do it with today’s restricted budgets? They do it on their own terms – with Interim Marketing Executives.
Companies outsource manufacturing and tech support to work faster, better, cheaper. Finance departments have used interim executives for years. Entire R&D efforts are purchased as companies identify new markets. Ad hoc marketing expertise is now essential is all competitive business models – Interim Marketing Executives are moving in for brief periods of time, and getting results for smart companies.
An Interim Marketing Executive is a highly skilled, independent mid- to executive-level professional, hired as needed to quickly integrate into a company and perform a specific task, project, or transition. They are especially effective when a new and impartial perspective is desired, marketing strategy is to be developed or revamped, or when a specific skill set is needed only for a few months, or years.
In light of this creative solution, smart companies have found a way to take advantage of new, competitive landscapes they would not have been able to in years past.
For example, MarketPro, a national placement firm, helped a multi-billion dollar publicly-held company accomplish just this task. By hiring just one of MarketPro’s Interim Marketing Executives, they were able to launch one of its most successful brands in China. Directly following the strategic development and launch of the brand, MarketPro’s Interim Marketing Executive quickly and seamlessly transferred this strategy and knowledge to the existing staff. The value of the Interim Executive’s service to the long-term business sustainability is unquantifiable in its magnitude.
A nimble workforce has been the goal for a decade. All decision makers have visions of highly qualified personnel switching gears on a moment’s notice and redirecting efforts to new projects seamlessly. What is just now being understood, however, is that these changes need to happen from the top down, and realistically, the best way to achieve this level of flexibility is with interim partners, perfectly paired to a businesses’ needs, and with an unrivaled depth of expertise.
Interim Marketing Executives are the way for businesses to get the talent they need when they need it, and at a price far more competitive than consulting firms. Free of internal politics, Interim Marketing Executives are utilizing their proven abilities to take savvy companies to the forefront of a new competitive edge.
MarketPro is the leading interim marketing executive and marketing executive search firm in the USA. Whether your need is interim / contract or direct placement, we provide top companies with talent that exceeds expectations both functionally and culturally. Our recruiters know the best marketing talent, because they are experienced marketers. MarketPro places talent in all marketing related disciplines and does so in less time with a higher success ratio than anyone else in the industry.
Great article in AdAge on how a CMO can benefit from having a Chief Marketing Technologist. I agree with the author that now is the time to invest is such a role, it is actually the perfect use for an Interim Marketing Executive. This allows the CMO the opportunity to utilize an outsider’s expertise to further develop the role for the maximum long-term organizational benefit.
Interim Marketing Executives are a growing trend allowing CMO’s the opportunity to navigate the changing landscape without the expense of a consulting firm.
A recent article on www.cnn.com, entitled “Say goodbye to full-time jobs with benefits“, discusses the trend we are seeing towards an interim workplace. Employers are looking to simply get work done, not necessarily add to headcount. The article does a good job of describing the trend and why it exists. Ultimately it understates how high up the corporate ladder this change is taking place and for how long the change will occur.
The fastest growing part of our business is our interim marketing executives. Not necessarily the Chief Marketing Officer, but every position reporting to the CMO is now open for a discussion on whether it needs to be a permanent headcount or whether the needs of the corporation are better served by an interim professional.
Historically our contract staffing business has been more tactical (junior level) professionals and our executive search group handled placing marketing executives directly into corporations. Currently our contract staffing business is experiencing growth, but it is at the senior strategic level where we are seeing the biggest shift. Now for every two senior searches we engage in, one is for an interim marketing executive.
This shift is significant and logical. The world is changing quickly and as a CMO, the talent you need today might not be the talent you need a year from now. Are you sure you want to invest in full-time headcount when the world around you dictates their skills might be less relevant to you in a year? Do you really need an expensive marketing consultant when an interim marketing professional with strategy and implementation experience is available to you?
The shifts in the marketplace regarding an increased pace of change and continued pressure on costs are here to stay, which means this trend is here to stay as well, long after unemployment dips back below 5%.
We are seeing many companies invest in senior level strategists in areas of innovation, brand, e-commerce, etc. This makes perfect sense as both large and small organizations need to compete in the current economic climate but do not want to add to full-time headcount. Bringing in a marketing consultant for 6 months allows you to move your company forward but not permanently increase overhead.
So if you find yourself in the position of needing some top notch talent to consult on your marketing needs, what should you be looking for? Interestingly, not a consultant, you need a marketing practitioner.
Marketing has changed so much in the past 5 years and the velocity of that change is increasing. It is moving so fast, a lot of marketers (not just consultants) find themselves in a place where their skills are irrelevant. Ultimately, since 2005 the big changes have happened inside corporate marketing departments, not at consulting firms. Therefore, you do not want to hire a consultant who has not seen any of these changes first hand. What you need is someone who has successfully moved the needle from inside a corporate structure. They will readily understand where your company is, what challenges you face and how best to overcome them. You want someone from outside your organization to bring in innovation and to take your company to a place it cannot go with the current team. Face facts: you cannot possibly be assured of success if you choose and individual or firm who has failed to execute something in the past 5 years or longer. So where are we drawing the line? Ultimately somewhere in 2005, if you are looking at bringing in an individual or firm, study their bios carefully. If they have done nothing but consulting since 2005 or longer, they are no longer relevant as an expert marketer. They have been removed from the corporation at a time when you cannot possibly appreciate all the change from the outside.
Fortunately this is good news, with consultants come oversized mark-ups, bring in an interim marketing executive to improve results while reducing cost.
Building an effective online marketing team is all about creating flexibility. Best practices dictate you bring the function in-house yet create a team that can change as fast as the market. Best structure is to hire a full-time employee who knows enough about each area drive maximum ROI from the team and bring in contractors to execute / implement. Contractors provide flexibility in a world that is changing rapidly. Traditionally contract staffing has been associated with only execution/implementation as a way to retain flexibility and reduce costs. Increasingly organizations are realizing that they can also bring in executive level interim marketing talent from a Creative Director to a Digital Strategist to maximize your online presence and / or use of analytics.
Online marketing teams are different depending on industry but ultimately all organizations need some basic functions. With the proper strategy and execution, your marketing dollars will go farther online than they can in any other form of media.
Digital Marketing Strategy
Strategy matters, too often the interactive world is filled with the “ready, fire, aim” approach and significant dollars and opportunity are lost in the process. Depending on the size of your organization you may need a strategist full-time or an interim practitioner, not a consultant, to come in and move your organization forward.
It is amazing how few organizations are really doing this well, considering the potential ROI from doing it properly. This is the most cost effective form of advertising available in any medium and the longer you wait to institute best practices, the harder it will become to get results.
Your SEO / SEM expert(s) will provide both natural and paid search services, to maximize awareness / leads from a minimum possible investment. Including but not limited to, keyword advertising / ranking, keyword bidding, copy optimization. Doing so across multiple platforms, while reporting on success / ROI and managing continual improvement.
Online Media Buying and Planning
The complexities of online media buying, planning, tracking and reporting are daunting, here there is no substitute for experience. The latest in online advertising options include geographically and behaviorally-targeted marketing. The challenges of building and launching a successful online ad campaign have grown as have the rewards of doing it properly.
A well thought out e-mail marketing team, starts with the realization that subject matter experts are needed and in great demand. The ability to take outside lead lists or an internal database and design, test, deploy, measure results and make necessary improvements is critical to long-term success. And that’s not all, reviewing creative to make sure messaging is consistent with core brand and CAN-SPAM compliant, while being a project management guru is a lot to handle. So in a nutshell: bring in the best to set strategy, plan and measure to maximize revenue.
Public Relations (Online)
This is much more than someone to write, manage and publish online content. This position is responsible for online messaging, including using guerilla marketing to leverage social media. It is also important for organizations to have someone who can help them to understand what makes content newsworthy. In a rush to be online, too many organizations are publishing content for content’s sake.
It is vital to measure, adjust and ultimately continually improve. Proper analytics gives you the knowledge and power to increase revenue and build a better online brand. Proper analytics programs include, online tracking, predictive analytics and segmentation, strategy, execution and reporting. Big question is do you have someone who can interpret the data and merge your online and offline analytics to properly focus your overall marketing mix?