The fish stinks at the head.
(A proverb that means the root cause of failure of an organization is its leadership—or lack thereof!)
Last week I posited that the reason marketing has lost, and continues to lose, relevance is due to CMOs not fulfilling their roles and responsibilities to the enterprise, which are to:
- Create an evidence-based marketing culture with clear line-of-sight from strategies and tactics to targeted Business Objectives (i.e., sales, market share, and profit);
- Hire the right people to instill and perpetuate the culture; and
- Provide the leadership and adult supervision needed for their team and the marketing function to institutionalize the culture and succeed.
I have a problem when senior “corporate” managers (particularly from Finance) question whether marketing is essential to the organization. (If they don’t question it, then they certainly don’t act as if marketing is important.) However, I do NOT have a problem with these senior managers asking whether they are getting fair value from their marketing department.
This brings me to the first responsibility of the CMO: Create an evidence-based marketing culture with clear line-of-sight from strategies and tactics to targeted Business Objectives (i.e., sales, market share, and profit).
The CMO needs to make marketing accountable for results in the same way the salesforce is responsible for achieving its targets. The CMO needs to establish results-oriented expectations for marketing and inspect to ensure these expectations are met. In other words, the marketing function must demonstrate (i.e., prove) line-of-sight to sales for each of its strategies and initiatives. I’m referring to instituting “evidence-based” marketing.
Unfortunately, there’s still too much of what passes for marketing today that’s eminence- over evidence-based. Eminence is a function of the CMO (or other senior decision-makers) directing and approving initiatives for which they have no evidence, only unexamined, misinterpreted, and/or highly biased experience. They have nothing but an opinion. It isn’t the value of their view, but the weight of their authority derived from her/his position or eloquence with which they speak that carries the day and drives others to follow. Add to this the practice of doing things the way they’ve always been done. This eminence-based practice leads to “blind obedience,” which those up and down the organization follow without examining.
Eminence-based marketing is dumb marketing. There’s no factual, proven support. It leads to faulty decision making. It’s “garbage in, garbage out.” It is not the mark of a high-performance, results-driven organization. Instead, it underscores an ignorant enterprise, one that, despite apparent successes, is falling short on impact, efficiency, and proper utilization of resources. It has no link to optimizing marketing success in creating brand loyalty and generating predictable results. Moreover, without knowing the impact nor return on investment (“activity” is a more accurate word), the company is gambling precious resources. The CMO is responsible for creating a culture that takes marketing (and the organization) from eminence-based to evidence-based marketing. Specifically, the CMO needs to ensure that ALL of her/his marketers:
- Develop SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) overarching target customer behavior objectives (referred to as Marketing Objectives) needed to realize target Business Objectives.
- Identify Key Business Drivers (i.e., those Marketing Mix Elements, such as promotion, advertising, KOL programs, medical congresses, etc., that provide the most significant impact on sales) and identify SMART behavior objectives for each. The sum of these behavior objectives will pay-off the Marketing Objectives, which, in turn, lead to realizing the Business Objectives.
- Appropriate sufficient resources against the Key Business Drivers to achieve the needed behavior objectives and contribution from each.
- Create and prove the impact of BIG idea tactics that compel the desired customer behaviors and drive incremental volume. Each tactic must also have and achieve SMART behavior objectives.
An evidence-based culture does the math to determine if the realization of the BIG idea tactics achieves the SMART Key Business Driver behavior objectives, which, in turn, deliver on the SMART Marketing Objectives, leading to the achievement of Business Objectives. If not, there’s more work needed! Additionally, the evidence-based culture provides evidence (through testing) that all activities will yield the required, expected line-of-sight to sales via the achievement of SMART behavior objectives.
Creating an evidence-based culture (from an eminence-based one) is the first responsibility of the CMO. It’s SMART marketing. It’s what’s needed to make marketing matter more.
Learn more about how to make your marketing matter more. Embrace SMART Marketing. Check out my new book: http://bdn-intl.com/avoiding-critical-marketing-errors
Stay SAFE and be well!