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3 Ways to Strengthen Your Marketing Leadership

By May 10, 2016 No Comments

3 Ways to Strengthen Your Marketing Leadership

These days, marketers don’t just want a chair at the table—they want to lead the meeting. But no matter how smart and fast your marketing team is, it’s only one piece in a larger puzzle that runs your company.

Whether you’re part of an in-house team or a member of an agency brought on to assist, it’s your job as a marketer to ensure the rest of the business understands that marketing influences all areas of a company. Sales, services, development—they all need marketing to amplify or clarify their message.

For these reasons and more, we are now seeing the path to CEO begin in marketing. But before you can lead, you have to gain the respect of the company.

While your marketing metrics might seem obvious to you, no one cares what an MQL or SQL is. If you aren’t making it a priority to change the way your company perceives your marketing initiatives, you’re undermining your own success.  Your entire company should be invested in the success of the overall marketing strategy. To accomplish this, they have to understand what you’re doing and how it impacts both the individual and the company as a whole.

That’s easier said than done, but here are three critical ways to change your company’s perception of marketing.

1. Be a Leader

Position marketing as the ambassador of mission-critical company goals. (highlight to tweet)

Every company has annual, quarterly, and even monthly revenue goals that are agreed upon by the executive team at the beginning of your fiscal year. But is the rest of the company aware of these benchmarks?

When you spend all your time on content, email campaigns, webinars, and events, it can be easy to get tunnel vision. It’s important to ensure that you’re keeping the company focus where it belongs. Marketing can take center stage in making these goals visible.

Internally, marketing the progress of teams and tying them back to company vision is an area of marketing that’s been largely forgotten. The most successful teams don’t allow this to happen. If you can’t see the forest for the trees, you’ll get mired down in routine and lose sight of the “why.” This causes even the best organizations to lose their way. Let marketing be the beacon it’s meant to be, steering the giant ship to port.

2. Connect to the Individual

Allow everyone to understand how their role contributes to company goals.

You already know that your efforts create business interest, leads, and revenue. But depending on their background, the department managers and the company executives might not understand exactly how marketing drives the bottom line.

When you finish a webinar that results in an impressive lift in pipeline, share that internally. Champion the sales associates who use your content most effectively, and demonstrate your content to show others in the department your value, too. Not everyone cares about infographics, email open rates, and marketing tech. Everyone cares about revenue. Showing the company how you’re making a difference on the bottom line is the ultimate way to get them on your side.

Beyond the one-to-one results of some marketing campaigns, the number one shortcoming of marketing departments is their failure to produce accurate attribution reporting. Marketing is an additive process and one that is mainly rooted in influence. Recognize this, and educate the rest of your company around this crucial fact.

After you’ve pollinated the idea, be sure to enforce it with accurate and frequent reporting. If you are only able to produce simple “lead”-based reports, you’ll fall victim to the “eBook fallacy.” Everyone knows a prospect downloading an eBook doesn’t close deals. It certainly does help, though. Attribution reporting will allow you to show this influence rather than undermining your metrics by trying to take credit for revenue with nothing but a download to show for it.

3. Dwell on the Past

Be a steward of results, and remind everyone of successful initiatives. Marketing is often the victim of ignorance. Simply put, sometimes the organization doesn’t know what you’re doing.

Don’t sell yourself short. When you have a record number of qualified leads coming in as a result of a new campaign, send around a note to the company celebrating your success. When a piece of educational content goes viral on social media, let everyone know. Call out by name the other departments who helped you, whether it’s Customer Success bringing in great customer stories or Accounting who helped you meet your budget goals on a big event. Put your successful campaigns up for an industry award, and name people outside the marketing department. Then, put the plaque you get for winning right above the coffee maker.

By championing the success of the company as a whole, the marketing team changes the perception, gets more allies within the business, and encourages more excitement towards future campaigns.

Marketers and the companies they represent have a symbiotic relationship: You need each other. By explaining your approach, stepping outside your comfort zone, and crediting others with some of your successes, marketing can go from weird artsy kid to class president in no time.

There’s no time like the present to make the changes outlined above. Marketing is still shedding the stigma that has plagued it for too long. The modern-day marketer is an ambassador of the brand, the poster child for duality. Analytical and yet creative, today’s marketers can’t be ashamed to highlight how rare it is to see their rare skill set in one, highly effective executive. If the path to CEO is through the CMO title, the vigor with which marketers perpetuate their brand must also be applied to advertising their results internally.

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