We have repeatedly covered using content (inbound) marketing to generate leads, build brands and grow with the consumer in charge of vendor selection. The role of the CMO of the 21st century is a world of difference than years past. It’s no more about spray and pray, it’s about laser-targeting specific customer types and delivering specific messaging tailored just for them. More and more companies are on board with not only creating customized content, targeted ads and email campaigns, but some of the other important segments of today’s marketing as well. The business owners and board’s understand what it takes to be a Chief Marketing Officer. What strikes me as odd is the fact that so many small to medium sized companies have yet to embrace the tenets of modern day lead generation and brand development. They haven’t kept up with the evolution of business itself.

Zen Marketing cartoonUsing content marketing to generate leads is crucial. Your content marketing strategies and tactics need to include several things these days, more so than in past decades. The marketing landscape is obviously changed from the Mad Men days, where creativity ruled over all other aspects of marketing and advertising. Back then it was all about reach and frequency using the most attractive and glamorous advertising to capture someone’s attention. If the ads reached enough eyes enough times, marketing had completed its job. Glitzy ads, sparkling eye catching display, robust campaigns to grow reach and frequency is all that mattered. The head of the department was a hero. If they failed, a zero. Today it is much different.

Today marketing is an integrated system of technology, systems and analysis, and of course, the right people handling the marketing message. It takes a leader that has a full understanding of what it takes to keep the myriad of tasks moving forward at the precise pace. Marketing today is so much more complicated and demanding in this Age of Information. It takes many people doing the right things in the proper sequence, understanding what effect every action takes, analyzing and testing to increase effectiveness, and using technology to effectively automate and control the message, and provide the results needed to generate revenue.

These puzzle pieces fit together nicely, as long as the ones responsible are tuned in, tuned up and raring to go. It’s also about the team leader, the chief marketing officer. What once may have been a glory job is now one of high-level responsibility, because today everything must flow through the marketing department. Today’s chief marketer at every company has a lot more on her/his plate than ever before, and many of yesterday’s pros simply find it impossible to make the cut to the new major league. Old style techniques don’t work like they used to. Today it takes a new set of tools and talent to get it done.

Here’s a streamlined list of some of the daily regimen of the current chief marketing officer and team:

  • Sales support through content development
  • Customer mapping – Understanding the customer buying process (top, middle or bottom of the sales funnel)
  • Tracking leads – Knowing exactly where each lead is in sales funnel
  • Scoring leads – Determining which is hot, which are not and everyone in between at a given time
  • Content delivery methodologies – Providing appropriate content that nurtures the lead to continue down the path of the sales funnel
  • Content analysis – Measuring the effect of each content campaign
  • Content and its integration with social media
  • Media relations – Getting the message to the media outlets to reinforce branding

Campaign conceptualization and realization – Beyond email, offline marketing such as trade shows, direct mail, display ads, radio, television, newspaper and magazines
Understanding the industry Best Practices and Key Performance Indicators as they pertain to Return on Investment
Integrating with IT to ensure that everything is automated with the proper software solutions, from delivery to analysis to reporting

The above list is but a mere encapsulation of what the day to day of the marketing department’s activities. Without a doubt the chief marketing person has a full plate, and unlike their Madison Avenue predecessors, don’t have time for the three martini lunch; probably no lunch at all. The role has significantly become perhaps the most important role in any organization, yet often misunderstood.

Today it is all about what we in the business like to call conversion. Converting a completely unknown contact into an interested party, encouraging them to be interested to learn more, converting that person to then become a customer, then converting them to a raving fan. Company advocates (raving fans) help reinforce a brand in the marketplace, serve as good will ambassadors and help spread the word both offline and online. They don’t necessarily know they are doing so, but when enough positive messaging is creating, buzz is a natural by-product. With enough buzz, success can build on success, and advocates naturally share their stories with others, generating buzz. These folks hopefully become interested parties, convert to customers, and hopefully, raving fans themselves. Buzz builds brands, generate new leads and reinforce the circular nature of the marketing process.

When things don’t go according to design, and the advocate ceases to be as such, it all reflects negatively on the brand, which in turn dims the light on marketing. Negative feedback from customers is much louder than positive, spreads faster and generates negative buzz that can damage or even extinguish a brand. It is all up to marketing; they are the champions and the scapegoats.

When a company is good enough to be able to create advocates (raving fans), their work isn’t even done. In fact, it has become more complicated than in years past. The old adage of, “getting to the top of the hill is difficult, staying on top is even more difficult.” In the old days, once the marketing or advertising message was created, their job was completed. They had made it to the top of the hill, and enjoyed the view. They were the envy of the company, as it seemed they had the easy jobs that most couldn’t do but wished they could. Getting the slick ads into production, approved by the C-level executive was their goal. Everything else was left to either sales, customer service or client retention. No longer, as now all that and more are the realm of the CMO.

Theirs is a weighty world today.