Dare to be distinct
Conformity crushes marketers and marketing—yet only 40% of the b-to-b CMOs surveyed believe their marketing is distinct from their competitors. Commodities aren’t us. Stand out. Better yet, be unique, inside and out. If the product or service you’ve been given isn’t distinct, then work with your product team and top customers to find something new. Either that or update your LinkedIn profile.
Pounce on your purpose
Great brands, like great leaders, lead with purpose. Find yours. Commit to it. Make it real. Keep it real. Your brand needn’t save the world (though that would be nice) but it can make a difference especially for employees and customers. There is also room for “little p” purpose brands that deliver a new standard of price/performance.
When CMOs fail, it is often because they create in isolation and try to take too much of the credit versus spreading it across the organization. Marketing is best played as a team sport. Involve your organization top to bottom early and often. Build bridges across the C-suite. Share the love and the gear.
If you can’t describe your brand in eight words or less, think bigger or work with someone outside your organization who can take a fresh look. Find your eight-word purpose-driven story statement first. Then touch souls with your distinct voice. Edit everything. Get to sparse before sprucing up your copy.
Delight by design
Aesthetics send signals. Kludgy design anywhere prevents brand love everywhere. Bake design into your organization via internal and/or external partners. If everyone in your category uses the same colors, the same stock images, the same fonts, then you’ve found an easy way to set your brand apart assuming you’ve also made some substantive changes to your product or service.
Engage employees first
If employees don’t believe in your brand, no one will. They are the front line that drives the bottom line. CMOs are increasingly driving employee advocacy programs as a cost-effective way of increasing reach and keep employees up to date on where the brand is headed. When they’re inspired, goodness follows.
Cultivate customer champions
Do what it takes to engender brand love. Make the customers the heroes of your story. Inspire them to share the wonders of your product/service. For example, several b-to-b CMOs are orchestrating customer advisory boards as a means of gleaning insights, sharing roadmaps and ultimately, cultivating champions.
Sell through service
We live in the “give to get” economy in which brands must give value to get attention. Be a giver. Give away as much as you can, including insights, tools, swag and maybe even product to build awareness and trust. Make it easy to buy by anticipating all the information a buying committee needs to make their decision.
Measure what matters
No doubt, you’ve got a lot of data points thanks to your martech stack. Unfortunately, many of those are misleading, such as marketing qualified leads, and won’t resonate with your executive committee. Work with your CFO and data chief to develop blended metrics that can track employee satisfaction, customer advocacy, prospect interest and brand health.
Forrester reports that more than $18 billion is being wasted on marketing technology. Sadly, martech is only as good as the staff that uses it—so start with an audit to identify the software that is really delivering value. Ditch the rest. Master one before adding another. Keep all-in costs below 10% of your total marketing budget.
Test to triumph
Even in a heavily automated, data-driven world, there is room for experimentation. Thanks to this same tech it is easier than ever to try new things and build a culture of experimentation. Reserve at least 10% of your media budget for category-busting tests. Celebrate the failures too.
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