Closing the Gap Between Long-Term Transformation and Short-Term Growth

Helena Mah

We’re living in a time when CMOs must walk the talk, be active and follow through with stated priorities, especially when the expectations toward marketing are so high. Often it feels like marketing is trying to close the gap between long-term transformation and short-term growth. And in this reality, CMOs need to establish transparent growth objectives, build the teams’ capabilities, and ensure the right tools are used to support understanding, measurement, and execution along the customer journey so they can meet those goals. 

On this path, marketers are very transparent about their aspirations and understand the great distances they still need to go to drive their businesses forward. They are acutely aware of the many barriers that are in the way of achieving the necessary improvements and the long-term changes that need to happen to find a way around short-term needs.

In many ways, marketers are the most connected to the pulse of what’s happening now and what needs to happen next. The need to change and to transform is simply becoming too great and unavoidable. It takes education, it takes budget, and it takes time. And other members of the management team can no longer ignore rapidly changing customer behaviors, radical changes to the marketing mix, and the fact that data fuels so much. Still, marketers are bound to quarterly earnings and all that comes with the need to drive short-term growth.

Efficiency and effectiveness 

Marketers were forced to double-down on marketing technology to accelerate the incomplete digital transformations. Now the pressure is mounting on the delivery of better results with lower costs. So, it's not just about increasing the impact and being effective, the attention is building toward - how to increase the ROI.

The big investments poured into technology are expected to pay off and deliver on its promises. And in this arena marketing needs a trusting IT partner to stay nimble, innovative, and enterprise-aligned, to become more data-driven, to keep the customer and business objectives at the front and center, to fuel the recovery. A great study was developed by CMO Council and KPMG that highlights the areas where to put attention to while establishing a strong CMO - CIO partnership. Effective collaboration has proved to be a necessary foundation for optimizing investment returns.

Meeting the growth goals

When it comes to meeting growth goals, marketing departments don’t operate in a vacuum. Sales are the most important department that CMOs and marketing departments need to collaborate with.  Creating a common language through all the stages of the sales funnel, connecting and integrating the technology, and articulating clear definitions of each milestone a customer passes through on the way to purchase, is bringing the two departments together. The missing component then is clear - open, and transparent communication and readiness to listen and learn from each other. Trust is paramount for the partnership to succeed, to collaborate as one team. There’s no way around it, you need to make sure that everyone is on the same page to reach those ambitious goals.

Proving the value of marketing performance

Linking marketing initiatives to business value means providing clarity about how marketing is driving revenue and influencing operational excellence. Many marketing leaders find performance argumentation challenging due to a lack of cross-functional buy-in and the analytics skills necessary for measuring marketing’s quantitative value and future outlook.

Partnering with C-level, upfront and honest communication with finance can effectively address the skepticism in the measurement. Understanding the marketing impact and how activities are driving value - whether they are intended to drive growth, increase efficiency, or when they contribute to another strategic objective - is critical. At the same time, CMOs need to ensure that the metrics are measuring progress against specific KPI or demonstrating ROI and thus enable objective understanding and supporting more informed decisions about initiatives and the impact they are delivering.

Marketing needs to sustain all relevant parts of the business from awareness to revenue to retention. The volume and the lead conversion quality are an indication of how relevant you and your offering are. But we must balance these conversion efforts while also prioritizing the retention, upsell and cross-sell. From a marketing perspective customer retention and scaling out often come second to new business acquisition, and it’s time we act on this and grow our existing customers as well. We know and understand them better, it should be easier and more impactful than only the acquisition of the new.

Closing the gap between long term transformation requires CMOs to prioritize and manage the short-term growth, while simultaneously making the improvements- while encouraging collaboration across the organization and skills development, building team cohesion and dynamics with sales, ensuring that the tools are in place and data available to drive effectiveness, innovation, and growth. Yes, all that.

Helena Mah is a senior executive who takes a vision and makes it a reality. Helena is a transformational leader able to inspire and empower individuals to unlock their potential and innovate to accelerate growth. Currently, as a Management and Business Consultant at Drop of Milk, she is supporting international and ambitious companies in a definition of their Business and Commercial strategy, spearheading major strategic transformations through digitalization, and supporting organizational development to achieve higher impact through innovation and delivery of customer value. Helena is respected as a credible voice in decision making, establishing strategic partnerships, and a flexible professional while adjusting to changing priorities.

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