18 Dec The most effective way for marketers to get into the boardroom
For decades marketers have been trying to shake the “colouring-in department” image and become integral to the business they are part of. However, it is fair to say they have had mixed success. Whilst in some progressive businesses we have seen Marketing titles replaced with Chief Growth Officers, within many organisations the marketing guys are still a sideshow, getting dragged into the boardroom once a quarter to play the latest TV commercial.
The forces of change decree that marketing can no longer exist as a silo. For one, they need to be across every customer touchpoint. As we have said before, customers don’t discern between above or below the line, paid, owned or earned, no, customers see your brand and form a view, regardless of when and where that happens. With this comes an expectation that messaging and content will be consistent across all channels, which means it is the marketers responsibility to be across all customer-facing facets of the business from what is said in a letter, on a website, in a store as well as in a TV ad.
The second force of change is the increasing demand for revenue. Gone are the days when marketers can get away with ‘driving single digit customer growth’. With profit margins being squeezed left, right and centre, marketers now need to be held accountable for a revenue line. This sharpens the pencil on understanding the wider growth drivers of the business. There are the traditional ways to generate revenue growth: grow your customers, your product offering or your margin. Alternatively, you join the ranks of progressive marketers and look to commercialise your assets as media vehicles with 80-90% margins.
As the CMO of a global bank recently put it, “Marketers are becoming more commercial, more aware of the roles of the rest of the business and getting closer to the technology and finance. This means they are becoming more integrated into the fabric of the business and I only hope this means more CMOs will start to be represented within the c-suite.”
So if you are a marketer and you have desires on becoming a company exec and the decision-making power that represents, the formula is to understand the nuances of your customers, get involved in all customer-facing activities and decode the commercial realities of your organisation. In short, find new ways to make more money!