You enter the business world eager to prove yourself and build a dream marketing career. But it quickly becomes apparent that everyone, and I mean everyone has an opinion about marketing. After several months or years you lose confidence and enthusiasm for your job and you begin to feel like an order taker for the Sales team or CEO.
I reported to a business leader who didn’t really understand the value of marketing, and my job became a dissatisfying situation. When others were controlling my day and my tasks, everything became reactive and I was near burnout. I had a ‘to do’ list days long, with too many conflicting priorities, and I wasn’t in full control of my time, day, energy, or budget.
I wanted a better, more valued role within the leadership team. And, I definitely wanted to direct the strategic marketing initiatives of the company.
Fortunately, I moved to a new company and a mentor taught me how to build up my knowledge, skills and confidence to maintain a valued role with the C-suite members of the company.
Do you relate to my past situation? Have you lost confidence in your own recommendations and you don't have connections with key stakeholders and customers to make accurate decisions? Maybe you’re at the point where you’ve been searching for what it takes to make the change you want. That is, a more valued and respected role with the leadership team at your company.
Basically, you're in the same boat I was in several years ago. I want you to know it is time to make a change. This change involves using effective techniques to regain your confidence to make a major upgrade to your career.
I can help you successfully make that change.
Why Marketers Don’t Have Credibility
Only 13% of Fortune 100 CEOs come from a marketing background. As a result, these leaders are overly involved in marketing decisions, skeptical about everything, and controlling budgets for fear of investing in the wrong activities. That was my boss to a tee.
CEOs don’t realize that marketing isn’t a one-size-fits all or one-and-done approach. Different strategies and tactics are needed to reach different market segments.
The good news is that 86% of CEOs believe CMOs have the power or ability to influence key decisions of the C-Suite. (Source: Boathouse 2021 CMO Survey)
But, the bad news is that only 34% of CEO’s have great confidence in their CMOs to do their job. The top reason for the disconnect is that marketers have invented their own jargon. Words and acronyms like ABM, SEO, PPC, brand essence, editorial, and on and on; that the rest of the C-suite members don’t understand.
Three Changes You Can Make to Gain More Credibility
1> Know your role as a marketer in your organization
It may surprise you that each person in your company may have a different view of what the role of marketing is. ‘Marketing’ is one of the most misunderstood functions in business. Is that the situation in your company?
I've worked with companies who viewed the marketing department as...
We know that marketing is a strategic function of a business that involves a lot more than communication. Unfortunately, not everyone sees it that way.
In research for the book I co-authored (Stand Out Marketing), we interviewed business leaders who summarized marketing's responsibilities as:
- Brand - strategy, development, management, awareness
- Strategy - segmentation, targeting, positioning, tactical planning
- Sales enablement - help sales win in chosen markets
- Alignment - align business strategy to customer needs
- Demand gen - ignite demand and bring opportunities to sales
What to do:
Perception is reality. You need to find out how marketing is perceived in your organization; as your view may not be the same as your stakeholders.
The best way to do this is to ask your leadership team and peers.
Some good questions to ask are:
What do you view as a marketer's role?
What do you expect from me and my marketing team?
What do good results like?
After gathering this information, you have a really good idea if your vision is aligned with your stakeholders in the company. If not, you need to educate them as to what marketing is and what a strategic marketer does.
2> Know your customer
One of the fastest ways to gain internal credibility and confidence in what you’re doing as a marketer is to identify and be the voice of your customer internally.
While your product, sales and C-suite teams may have their opinions, it is your job or position to answer the question…"What do our customers think?”
Become an expert about your customers and be able to speak and write in your customer's voice.
When you don’t have this crucial information about your customer, you're working in a void of unknowing, like the rest of the organization. They are just speculating as to what the customer wants or needs. You remain in the role of an order-taker implementing an ineffective idea. This can add to a CEOs lack of confidence in you, not realizing that his choice is the cause of the problem.
To gain credibility and confidence, you need to go beyond the data. Start by listening in on customer phone calls with your sales or customer success teams in order to get accurate information on your customers' problems or concerns.
Take it a step further by talking directly with your customers to better understand their needs, pain points and what they value.
This is how I find the customer information I need for my clients. I dig into the reasons and process their customers go through to make decisions.
Here are some questions to consider:
- How does your customer make decisions?
- Who is involved in the decision process?
- What problem were they trying to solve when they started to look for a solution?
- Why did they choose your product/ service over your competitors?
- What value are they getting from using your product/ service?
(Read more about how to get to the heart of what your buyers want)
Now, armed with this information, you move out of 'order taker' mode and become a valued partner at the C-suite table.
3> Know your business
You probably got into marketing because you thought it was going to be forward-thinking, trend-setting, creative and fun.
Being a marketer is all of those things, and more, if you have the trust and confidence of the other departments and the C-suite.
To move into a more strategic and valued role, you need to understand how marketing plays an integral part in driving revenue and profits.
First, look at how your company makes money. Which market segments or products are the most profitable and why?
Next, talk to your finance team to understand how business performance is being measured.
- Sales targets by customer segment and/ or geography
- Revenue (when the sale is fulfilled and billed)
- Profits (after expenses, including marketing expenses)
Finally, you need to have a pulse on your competitors. How can you expect to compete if you don’t know what you’re up against? This information is useful to develop a unique value proposition and ensure that you’re note inadvertently copying exactly what your competitors are saying.
These three strategies are designed to help you earn more influence and get you to a more strategic and valued position in your company. Knowledge of your role, your customer and your business and being able to communicate this to your stakeholders is key to changing your situation. Successful implementation is another component in changing your position to one of respect and a voice of authority. Start implementing these strategies today to be in a better position tomorrow and get back to loving your job as a marketer.
If you're ready to take your B2B Marketing career to the next level, learn more about our small group mentoring program, The Confident Marketer Playbook.