CEOs - Three Questions You Should Be Asking To Your Marketing Team

CEOs - Three Questions You Should Be Asking To Your Marketing Team

Ayan Chatterjee, Vice President, Marketing, Eye Care Leaders, 0

In his two decades long career, Ayan has worked with companies such as Aptech, Data Comp Web Technologies, Anunta Technology Management Services, Eli India and many others, prior to joining Eye Care in 2020.

You have probably heard this ad nauseum – COVID-19 has changed the way business is run. Traditional methods & dogma have fallen by the wayside while adapting to the new normal. However, if you look closely, the fundamentals are as critical now as they were earlier. It has always been about the Customer. And the key stakeholder that is the custodian for everything customer, is the marketing department. The primary role of marketing is to be both the voice of customer and an agent of change. If they are not doing that, it’s time to raise the red flag.

Traditionally, most CEOs, perhaps even you, have maintained an arms length distance with marketing, often not being clear of the exact financial value they create a critical performance metric that needs to be shared with internal & external stakeholders. This isn’t a luxury you can get away with anymore. You absolutely need to get involved. Marketing is a key weapon in your arsenal, and in my opinion, there are three basic questions you need to keep asking them.

Who is my customer, what problem am I solving for them, and how can I personalize their experience with us at each step of the customer journey?
All roads to this answer lead to data. Companies today have access to more data, allowing them to really understand who their best customers are, what they want, and how to build long term relationships with them. Converting that data to insights is the key to address how your company can make a client’s journey smoother and personalized while solving a critical problem they are faced with.

However, caution is in order. In an age where data security, ethical use of customer data & privacy concerns rule the roost, companies tread a fine line between getting granular data of clients, and using it in ways that might compromise customer relation ships, trust & corporate reputation. The increase in both commercial potential & reputational risk that comes with data makes it imperative for both CEOs and CMOs to understand in detail how the organization is using this data.

How are you driving growth?
The general view describing what the marketing team does is ‘those guys & girls who use flowery words and come-up with creative campaigns & flyers’. To be honest, some of this perception is accurate, but only paints part of the picture. At its core however, the role of marketing is to drive business forward. If marketing activity doesn’t drive sales, it doesn’t matter. A good marketeer connects the dots between reality, storytelling and business objectives. Your CMO should be able to tell you how marketing is driving growth by identifying projects that directly or through attribution led to sales.

Another key area is to check how the marketing team can drive sustainable financial performance both as enablers of revenue and shrewd task masters driving
cost efficiency. A caveat here. Marketing is often tasked with finding newer ways of achieving success. And not all experiments are successful. CEOs should ask their CMOs what would be the right metric to track success without dampening the spirit of innovation or breaking the bank.

How are you shaping the narrative?
The Customer's Perception Is Your Reality’ Kate Zabriskie. It takes but a minute for all the hard work you have done over the years to crumble if customers perceive you have been dishonest or tried to take advantage of them. And it’s not just clients. This applies to your employees, partners, vendors and the broader business ecosystem too. Note that the keyword here is ‘perceive’. Often, reality is far from perception. Hence, as a business leader, being ahead of the narrative while simultaneously shaping it is of critical focus for CEOs & CMOs alike.

“Converting That Data To Insights Is The Key To Address How Your Company Can Make A Client’s Journey Smoother And Personalized While Solving A Critical Problem They Are Faced With

The importance of consistent, clear, frequent and authentic messaging has been reinforced more than ever during the pandemic. Companies that have stayed true to their brand valuesconsistently communicating with their clients even if it was to share bad news and backed up their communication with actions, have fared better.

As per the Edelman Trust Barometer, that has been measuring trust in global institutions (business, government, NGOs & such), the current trust score for business stands at 59 percent. And one of the pillars of trust is communication. The fact is people are scared, they are cynical, and they need empathy.

Especially now, you as the CEO should be leading the communications agenda by effectively communicating to your employees & customers that the company is stable and will continue to serve its stakeholders diligently. As we enter the second quarter of 2022, you might want to check how well this messaging is being kept on point by your marketing team.

In Conclusion
For all the bravado and snazzy presentations, marketers are at the end human beings. Visible interest, engagement and support from the CEO goes a long way in motivating the team to run the extra mile. By asking questions, you can uncover what they need to reach growth goals and ensure they are in alignment with the business objectives of the firm.

As Debora DiSanzo, erstwhile CEO of Phillips Healthcare observed, you could have the best R&D in the world, the best operations in the world, and the best finance in the world. If you don’t have a world class marketing enterprise, your solutions will not meet the market, will not make their mark, and will not create loyalty in your customers. Can you really afford that?