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  • Michael Kerman

Is your CMO too "Cart-centric" ?

Updated: Jan 25, 2019

It seems like every article written and every marketing job posting is about lead generation, and it's not surprising. After all, despite all of the tremendous focus on customer experience and the buyer journey, the bottom line is the deals still come from opportunities and opportunities still originate with leads. The taxonomy may have changed (see the revised Demand Unit Waterfall by SiriusDecisions), but without interested prospects, there is no revenue and voila!... no CMO either.

However, I believe many CMOs are truly putting the "cart before the horse".

In an effort to quickly impact the pipeline and meet lead-related KPIs, marketing strategy (the horse) often gets overlooked at the expense of marketing execution (the cart). Even new marketing executives have a tendency to jump right in and start working on new campaigns, new CTAs, new content... you get the picture.

But as Lewis Carroll once said (paraphrasing), "If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there".  Leads generated behind a faulty segmentation model or market strategy are just a waste of time and money.

Now don't get me wrong - CMOs certainly need to proficient in driving demand and generating pipeline and revenue by pulling all of the "levers" at their disposal. 

However, CMOs first priority must be to ensure there is a "horse" and it's the right one. Is the company pursuing the best market opportunities? Do they have the right industry and market segmentation model? Are they targeting the right buyers or "demand units"? Is the messaging resonating with the respective audiences? Is the value proposition clear, compelling and supported by the company's offerings?

Too often, I believe marketers jump into execution mode assuming that all of these questions have been properly researched and answered. I always recommend that CMOs, regardless of whether they're long-timers or new-to-the-job, put marketing strategy ahead of execution until they can "trust and verify" that they have the right horse to pull the cart and it's headed in the right direction.

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