Saving your CMO

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Tim McLaughlin, Siteworx
Tim McLaughlin, Siteworx

There has never been a better time to be a CMO. You're finally in the driver's seat with the tools to prove ROI, but now you need a plan to get to your destination without too many detours along the way. You want to deliver on digital's promise of anytime, anywhere engagement, but also tie your investments to business results. Here are 5 keys to doing that:

Get back to basics

As you integrate digital with traditional, the swiftest path to success begins with the basics: who is your audience, where are they finding you, and where are you finding them, and what do they want?

Develop your personas, content strategy, and tool selection based on the answers. For example, if your customers are heavy mobile users, take a “mobile first” approach to content and to the design of your digital properties.

Simplify your toolkit

Speaking of marketing tools, marketers are tool-heavy. The variety of great tools available makes it doubly hard to choose the right ones for your toolkit. When choosing a tool, ask how it integrates with your current marketing solutions. Today you probably have separate tools for email, Web, analytics, social media, mobile, etc. Simplify to reduce adoption hurdles and speed implementation. The fewer tools you use, the easier it will be to measure your investments and communicate the results.

Balance your team

According to an article in Forbes, in five years the CMO will have a bigger technology budget than the CIO. This means you need to build your own technology muscles and find the right technical people who can help execute your plans.

To understand what you need from your technical team members, it sometimes pays to think like a technologist: baseline, analyze, and evolve, in that order. The more data-focused you can be, the better you'll be able to communicate with the technologists on your team. 

Process is not a four-letter word

Technologists rely on processes to get things done with a predictable level of reliability and maintainability. Marketers have to execute quickly, which sometimes leads to shortcuts. The more standardized process you can introduce to your marketing organization, the more efficient your operations and more predictable your outcomes.

Balance your bias for action with an equal bias for planning

Marketers rarely have the luxury of time. To deliver sustainable results, balance your bias for action with an equal bias for planning. You'll find your organization will be far less reactive and that you'll be able to build programs that create long-term, sustainable relationships with your customers and prospects.

Tim McLaughlin is president of Siteworx.

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