What to Expect From Your LeadingEdge Interim CMO
LeadingEdge works with tech vendors of all sizes across all IT industry segments. We often work with early-stage tech vendors who don’t have a head of marketing. When I speak with CEOs, COOs, and other leaders of the business about the importance of marketing, I first try to convey that there are many things they don’t know because they just don’t know. Let me explain through an analogy.
When I taught my oldest daughter how to drive a car, there were many concepts that she never knew existed. For example, she never knew that drivers followed a “right of way” at stop signs and traffic circles. She never knew that, as a strong rule of thumb, it’s always best to pass cars on the left (except in the UK and Australia, of course). And she never knew how important it is to look both ways when the light turns green before proceeding through an intersection to avoid collisions with those attempting to run through yellow lights.
Business leaders who have never worked a day in marketing may not be aware of critical marketing concepts, such as:
- The importance of market segmentation so your products and/or services are optimized for the right types of markets
- The importance of knowing your buyer personas so you’re consistently conveying the right messages to the right people
- The importance of a message map so you’re consistently reinforcing key messages (i.e., message pillars) and not reinventing the wheel with each new piece of content
- The importance of aggregating accurate win/loss statistics and interviewing customers so you know exactly why you’re winning and losing
- The importance of search engine optimization (SEO) so your prospects can find your company when they’re in the market for your products or services
So, if you’re not quite ready to permanently hire a head of marketing, then I strongly recommend that you contract with an Interim Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Interim VP of Marketing, Interim Director of Marketing, or whatever you want to call it. You need someone to help implement marketing fundamentals that are required for any tech vendor to truly be successful. Even if your company has grown over the years without a marketing leader, I assure you that you’ve suffered an opportunity cost by not growing as quickly as you could have with a proper marketing function.
If you decide to engage a contractor to serve as your Interim CMO (or other title), here’s what you can expect them to do:
- Market segmentation: Ensure everyone is on the same page regarding the types of companies you serve, including employee count, annual revenue, and industries. If you’ve got multiple product lines, you need to know which products are relevant for which types of companies.
- Buyer personas: Gain deep insight into the types of buyers your sales team interfaces with so your marketing communications are aligned with their specific needs.
- Message map: Work with the team to develop a message map for each product line or service line, including three message pillars and well-written proof point descriptions. This helps to reinforce key messages across marketing communications, such as your website, brochures, white papers, customer success stories, and presentations.
- Branding: Is your branding well documented? If not, your Interim CMO will ensure that a branding style guide is created to document your primary and secondary color palettes, preferred fonts, consistently used stock photography, branding elements, and more. Then, they’ll apply consistent branding to your website and a variety of sales tool templates, such as brochures, white papers, customer case studies, presentations, and more.
- Competitive analysis: If your Interim CMO has competitive analysis expertise, they can help you optimize your CRM (e.g., Salesforce.com) to capture accurate win/loss statistics. They can also help coordinate customer win/loss interviews to gain even deeper insights and competitor battlecards for your sales team.
- Content marketing: Your Interim CMO will conduct a content audit and help develop a content plan that fills in the blanks. They may even contract with an Interim PMM or Interim Content Marketing Manager to help crank out badly needed content.
- Marketing automation system setup: If you don’t have a marketing automation system, such as Eloqua, Marketo, Hubspot, or ActOn, you must get one. Seriously. Pony up the bucks. You’ll thank me later. Such a system makes it easy to send emails based on buyer persona, track website visitors, and score leads based on prospect activities, such as opening emails, visiting your website, and attending webinars. Marketing qualified leads (MQLs) are generated and passed over to sales in hopes of converting them to sales qualified leads (SQLs), opportunities, and ultimately closed deals.
- Search engine optimization (SEO): Optimizing your website, which includes regularly producing new blogs, is critical to ensuring healthy website traffic. There’s an entire SEO universe that you’re unaware of. Trust me on this.
- Strategic planning: Your Interim CMO will help you to develop a go-to-market (GTM) plan, an operational budget for people and programs, and an overall marketing plan.
Marketing is an investment that pays returns. These are just some of the critical tasks that your Interim CMO will facilitate. To learn more about LeadingEdge’s Interim CMO offering, click here: https://leading-edge.com/services/interim-vp-of-marketing-chief-marketing-officer/
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