I recently had the pleasure of interviewing some of B2B’s top marketing minds to find out how they have been able to achieve growth for their organizations. Interestingly – but really not surprising – their insights closely aligned with the findings of the recent study, “The DNA of a Growth CMO,” published by SAP.
From both sources, common key attributes emerged that growth marketers draw upon, such as fostering a data-driven culture and delivering an omnichannel customer experience. All of the attributes can be organized into three themes: culture, capabilities, and outcomes.
We wanted not only to understand the process of growth, but also the people behind it. During two recent growth-focused panel discussions I moderated at the BMA and Integrated Marketing Summit (IMS) conferences, we asked the audiences how they ranked themselves and their organizations on some of these growth-marketing attributes. Five themes emerged:
1. Building a data-driven culture is at the investment stage. It’s hard to check your email these days without sifting through at least a few Big Data offers. But data is the answer only if employees have access to it and your organization’s culture supports decision-making based on analytics. Companies will continue to invest in data tools – the marketers at both BMA and IMS said they were increasing their investments in data/analytics technology – but are their employees able and willing to embrace this data-driven culture? It’s up to marketing leaders to empower their people to make decisions based on data and insights rather than simply relying on instinct.
2. Outside-in thinking and customer understanding are keys to a market-centric culture. The customer is now in control. Marketing organizations experiencing continued growth are not only acknowledging this new reality, but they also are shifting their strategies in order to speak to customers in new ways. In fact, according to our surveys, when asked what is most important to developing a market-centric marketing culture, marketers ranked highest the qualities of having an outside-in mindset and developing an understanding of prospects, customers, and competitors.
3. Talent is key. Finding employees – especially millennials – who are totally focused on the customer, and then keeping those people engaged, are some of the most important elements to building talent capabilities in marketing organizations, according to the marketers we surveyed. Yet, the SAP research found that only 38% of marketers say they are effective at attracting millennials. As more people from this generation enter the management layers of organizations, retaining and growing them as marketing gurus will help to lay the foundation for a growth future. Another important factor when it comes to talent is storytelling. Every company has a story – it’s up to you to find the people who can effectively share it.
4. A deeper understanding of the customer is needed. Our surveys found that understanding the customer journey is the biggest area needing improvement for marketers. The SAP research concurs, finding that only 22% of marketers say they understand the customer decision journey. The funnel is not dead, but with the customer in control, linear ideas like the funnel are being flipped on their heads and replaced with a deeper understanding of the wants and needs of customers as they navigate their way through a new decision journey.
5. Most marketers are learning to grow. That’s what the majority of the marketers we surveyed at BMA and IMS said about their progress toward becoming an outcome-driven organization. According to the SAP research, marketers are learning to shift the outcomes they focus on, from things like increasing customer loyalty, customer satisfaction, and word-of-mouth to growth drivers such as increasing profitability, revenue, and customer lifetime value.
Some say there’s never been a better time for CMOs to be the core drivers of business success. I have to agree. As I discovered at BMA and IMS, marketers are well on their way to becoming just that.
Find out more: Visit www.growthmarketer.org.
Adryanna Sutherland – gyro Cincinnati, President
Tenure at gyro: 10 years
As president of gyro:Cincinnati, Adryanna leads an interdisciplinary team of marketing enthusiasts focused on business building results for its clients including SAP, BP, Kelloggs, HP and Pentair. Prior to joining gyro, Adryanna was a partner at L/A/O where she headed up strategy and account management for Purina, Sears and Ethicon Endo Surgery, among other accounts.
On the client side, Adryanna served as corporate brand manager for NCR, leading the company’s multimillion-dollar global brand campaign for Teradata.
Adryanna earned a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing with a minor in decision sciences from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She holds a Master of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in international marketing from the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio. Adryanna is a current member of the Indiana University Business Marketing Academy’s Corporate Advisory Board, the Business Marketing Association (BMA), and the Institute for the Study of Business Markets (ISBM) at Penn State University. Ms. Sutherland was named a 2013 Woman of Influence by Lead Magazine.