Demand Gen Report: How has the B2B CMO role changed/evolved in recent years?
Maria Pergolino: Marketing has expanded from being a primarily brand focus function to owning the external voice of every part of the business including, in many cases, pipeline and customer lifecycle. I like to think of it as the sales team being responsible for the one-to-one prospect relationship, and the marketer being responsible for the one-to-many. Similarly, the customer success team is responsible for the one-to-one customer relationship, but marketing helps as the voice across all customers. This approach can be applied in other areas of the business as well, especially as the company speaks broadly to investors and candidates.
DGR: As expectations for driving revenue and growth increase, does that put CMOs at risk as potential scapegoats for failing to hit sales milestones?
Pergolino: By definition (go ahead, look up “marketing” in Google), marketing is promotion and selling. If we think about marketing this way, sales is a part of marketing, and marketers should be responsible for hitting the number. The key to making this work, and not having to do all the work on your own, is good partnership so that marketing and sales achieve more together.
I think CMOs should focus on four metrics that covers across brand, demand, and customer lifecycle: Share of Voice, Revenue (including pipeline), Net Promoter Score and Marketing ROI.
DGR: In addition to increased pressure to drive revenue and show ROI, what are some of the other top challenges that CMOs are facing?
Pergolino: The CMO role is the hardest in the C-Suite right now because of the pace of innovation and disruption impacting every industry paired with the inability for buyers to consume all the information coming at them. It takes true excellence from a brand to not only create an appealing message, but to have the message stand out enough that it can be consumed.
DGR: What do you see as the top priorities for B2B CMOs in the coming years?
Pergolino: I think it all comes down to efficient differentiation. It’s a winner takes all environment, and the brand that can stand out while being efficient with resources is going to be the winner in every industry.
DGR: Incorporating tech and aligning it with strategy has become a bigger imperative for marketers, but has the approach to technology changed for CMOs?
Pergolino: At the board level, IT consolidation to ensure trust and security is an ongoing, critical topic. Marketing leaders need to key off this to make sure the team is not only incorporating technology strategically, but that it is aligned to the technology approach of the rest of the organization.
DGR: Which technologies do you see as the top priorities for B2B CMOs over the next year or two?
Pergolino: Marketers need to continue to stay on the leading edge of technology, staying abreast of new channels, tools and tactics that will allow them to stand out to their audiences. I think marketers will think more about stackable and integrated technologies instead of staying on one platform. Finally, I think you will see a set of “frictionless” tools emerge that allow marketers to sign up online and start using the tool before a sales rep even knows they are a prospect.