Tag Archives: CMO

Handling Disruption in the Building Materials Industry as a CMO

26 Sep


Your CMO is responsible for staying abreast of real-time changes in consumer behavior, the business environment, social norms and new technology. We are living in an age of disruption that is only multiplied in niche industries such as building materials. Every direction is a new disruption, yes, but all of the changes are also opportunities for the right marketer.

Here are a few of the ways that your CMO can handle the ever expanding environment of disruption and come out on top for your business.

Exploring Lightning Fast Advancements in Science and Tech

The number of technologies that have become household concepts over the past five years has accelerated exponentially over the past five years. Consider AI, facial recognition software, virtual reality, robotics and the Internet of Things – there are many places that your CMO can put the marketing budget and human capital. All of these technologies should not be cultivated for their own sake. Marketers should look to tame these disruptive concepts for the sole purpose of understanding the motivations of customers and developing solutions for them.

Connecting Media Platforms

Connected devices and multisensory platforms are completely redefining how we use media and even how we define what media is. The Internet of Things makes household appliances media – media that may even outperform its traditional counterparts. If your fridge can now recommend certain foods to you based on your unique biorhythms and whether you are likely hungry at that stage of the day, we owe it to our businesses to look again at how we may be able to use new technologies to our advantage. The building materials industry will be looking to the Internet of Things especially to connect with prospects.

Considering the Customer Holistically

With the proliferation of big data and the ability to segment and analyze it precisely comes an opportunity to study customers more deeply than ever before. We are living in a consumer-centric world, and this trend is not reversing itself any time soon. In a small industry like building materials, everyone knows everyone else. Each person within a sales funnel must be considered fully as a human being with personal goals and choices in every communication. This could be quite a task without the buyer profiles that modern marketing technology helps put together for us.

New Ways of Doing Business

The new business models that are being created through disruptive technologies are just as disruptive as the tech itself. Process is just as much innovation as any individual piece of technology. Additionally, companies within the building materials industry must consider ideals beyond a simple profit motive. We owe it to ourselves and to our community to look at revenue models with an impact socially as well as financially. Many companies actually find that expanding their bottom lines comes more quickly with an expansion into open source innovation programs and benefit corporations.

A Real Time Response to Changes in Society 

Changes in society mean changes in the motivations of future employees and the perception of actions that a business takes. For instance, certain manufacturing processes that would have been industry standard within building materials might now be considered anti-environment and cause enough of a stir to hinder business, yes, even B2B transactions. The CMO must ensure the public facing image of the business is intact, even if that campaign is only to keep the company out of the general news cycle.

As disruptive technologies create more opportunities, CMOs throughout the industry will need to decide how to best employ these new tools. Directing the new features to any hang-ups in the segmentations above is a good start in navigating the ever-changing world of building materials and using new tech in a positive way.

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What Does a CMO Need to Know About Lead Generation?

19 Sep


Mastering lead generation is a sort of holy grail for all B2B marketers. The CMO position should be attuned to new methods in lead generation, especially new digital channels. These methods of outreach will help to expand a business more quickly than perhaps any other method.

Here are a few of the most important aspects of lead generation a CMO should prioritize.

The Self Directed Customer

The proliferation of information online has led to more buyers who are completely self directed. This is true of vendors in a supply chain or bulk customers. Even if the selection in your industry is limited, the prospect will make their decision based on a sales funnel that is alternative to the mainstream.

How your customer finds you is just as important as finding you in the first place. If your lead comes through a website that is not reputable, your business looks bad. Most customers have their own processes to vet vendors, suppliers and other partners. Your CMO should be trying to find out what this process is and get into it rather than trying to generate leads through a generalized opt-in procedure.

Cutting Through the Noise

Marketing volume is not the answer to digital noise, and your CMO must understand this for the sake of your marketing and finance departments. The Internet is growing faster than any single company can scale. Companies literally enter the digital space to the tune of thousands of new companies per day.

Part of the CMO position is about learning how to pick your prospects out of a crowd. Lead generation is a targeted practice – you are not selling commercial services. Email blasts and mass advertising is becoming less effective every year. Placing ads in targeted locations associates you with the right customer from the start, helping you unqualified prospects, which reduces the chance of a low ROI interaction.

Learning Attention Economics

The basic rule of attention economics, or keeping the attention of a qualified prospect, is this: An abundance of information equals a scarcity of attention. There are 5 exabytes of new information being created and placed on the Internet every 2 days, according to Google. It is essential that your CMO learn how to keep the attention of a prospect even within the scope of a qualified ad space.

Your messages must relate to the immediate need of a prospect – these immediate needs are the focus of that prospect’s attention at that time. Learning what these needs are is a function of social media. Prospects will actually tell you straightforwardly what they need if you just listen. Do not be afraid to do a bit of research on a highly qualified prospect before your first engagement. The CMO should lead a concerted effort to discern behavioral trends from a prospect’s social media posts and past purchase history.

The CMO position is quietly but assuredly becoming more expansive as the need for targeted lead generation becomes more prevalent. Make sure that your CMO is empowered with the tools to follow the directives above for best results during the lead generation process. Your CMO should also look to constantly improve the lead generation process as the market changes – you can bet that prospects will only become more picky as the Internet continues to grow and create more noise.

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The Top 6 Skills a B2B CMO Needs to Be Successful

29 Aug


The CMO position is finding its way to the head table in many companies. As the hybrid skill set of the CMO become more important to business, the skills that should be prioritized are showing themselves. Although industries may vary, the competencies that are required for success tend to remain the same.

Product Marketing

As you know, most of your revenue will likely come from your existing customer base. Every CMO should understand how to market to a legacy customer as well as outreach to new ones. As aspects of product marketing, CX, UX and visual design are all important skills that your CMO should have available.

Scaling Content Creation

As the rest of your business scales naturally, your content will require a bit more effort. In order to get more quality content going for your brand, you either have to hire more people or outsource to a higher degree. Additionally, the different forms of content – how to videos, eBooks, email blasts, webinars – all require a different set of skills to make. A CMO must be able to determine the types of content that are most effective and work within the company budget to grab the most of it for the least.


The best CMOs often come from a coding background. However, the CMO will usually not be employed as a front line coder. What is the balance here? The CMO should understand the language of the people who will be in the trenches handling business. Marketing is becoming more aligned with tech, and the successful marketing departments of the future will incorporate a great deal of overlap with the IT department. The CMO must understand what to prioritize within this overlap while understanding how difficult it is to translate marketing concepts into technical executables.

Agile Marketing

The main job of the CMO is to get rid of as much uncertainly as possible in the marketing process. As a data driven position, the CMO should naturally know how to manage shifting timelines and priorities. With a mastery of agile marketing, a CMO will basically be able to apply these shifts in real time. The result should be quicker deployment of marketing campaigns, a higher flexibility to make changes during a campaign, and a more effective cost for campaigns.

Account-Based Marketing

Even with digital automation and AI taking the reins in many aspects of the B2B sales funnel, there are more people than ever involved with each sale. Account based marketing keeps track of the money through this ever lengthening chain of command. One of the major priorities of any CMO should be to ramp up the sales velocity. The CMO should lead efforts to target many decision makers through multi-channel outreach at one time. This requires a close eye on each account from a perspective of personnel and finances.

Learning to Manage the Millennial Generation

Millennials are moving into managerial and executive positions, and the successful CMO will have to learn this new generation. Their motivations are different. There is no moving around them – they are the most qualified applications in most cases. Millennials have a natural ability to combine the soft skills of marketing with the hard skills of technology. As the older generation fades out and is replaced by this generation, a good CMO will learn a more sensitive, environmentally friendly and less hierarchal method of management.

There are certainly a bevy of skills outside of these top 6 that a CMO should learn. The market will change, and with it, the skills that should be prioritized. However, a mastery of these will certainly give a leg up.

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5 Doable Steps to Maximize CMO B2B Engagement

16 Mar





Your sales team is doing its job, but you have yet to land the whale that will take your profits to the next level. Higher level communications tend to get big projects done with less bureaucracy. Here are 5 steps you can take to maximize communications between your Chief Marketing Office (CMO) and the customers that really matter.

1. Staying Agile

Strategic leaders within a company have the ability to look beyond immediate targets and short-term objectives. You can land the whale by simply staying on your toes in terms of industry trends. Instead of responding to hot RFPs for companies that are high in demand, you can do business with a strategic partner who will provide you profits far down the line. You spend less because you are doing your deals in the off-season, and your partner is validated because you recognized long-term potential instead of following short-term trends.

2. Continuous Relationship Building

Your sales team should have no problem initiating contact with their counterparts across companies if the C-Suite has already made an acquaintance. In contrast with a low-level salesperson, a CMO taking a potential partner executive out for a round of golf creates relationships throughout the entire chain of command. In effect, the CMO becomes the lead salesperson rather than the “man behind the curtain.”

3. Creating a Humanized Entity

You can save tens of thousands of dollars in marketing spend by creating a humanized relationship across companies through your CMO. The decision makers from other companies will not have to view your high quality advertisements in order to understand what your company is about. They got that information firsthand from your CMO during the trade show mixer.

If there are no industry events that give you an excuse to put a human face on your operations, make one. CMO is also head of PR, even if you have outsourced PR to a third-party specialist. Get in their business to make business.

4. Becoming the Organizational Storyteller

As the CMO, you have license to talk to people about your company in a way that no one else does. You can look at the Chief Marketing Officer as the Head Storytelling Officer if you have trouble remembering exactly what you are supposed to be doing out in the field. Your future partners want to understand how your company connects the dots internally and as it moves into its partnerships. As the CMO, you are the link between R&D, marketing, distribution and IT that can explain all of these connections with a human touch.

5. Challenge Your Industry

No one knows better than you what your company can accomplish. If you extend your position as leader of the company into your industry, you can set the challenges that potential vendors and partners respond to. In essence, you are creating a problem that you are the best company to solve.

Speaking engagements at industry events are always a great way to direct the trends of your industry culture in an advantageous direction. However, you can also do this on an individual basis, because you have access to all of the decision-makers in your industry. Do not waste your time with them, but let them know about how your company is moving your industry forward and why they need to get on board today. Once you have set this tone, your salespeople can work out the details later.

No less than Xerox CMO John Kennedy has stated on record that B2B marketing is more about personality than ever. Use the above tips to arm your CMO for the front lines, because the C-suite has to lead from the front in this business generation!

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The Changing Role of the CMO in the Building Products Industry

21 Oct

CMOs Roles are Evolving at a Rapid Pace – Make Sure You’re Ready


“We’re all working in beta.”

- Kathy Button Bell, CMO, Emerson

Chances are, as a building products CMO, you’re feeling overwhelmed. In fact, 34% of CMOS are overwhelmed by the fast pace of change. What’s more: 97% expect the pace of change to accelerate even more moving forward.

This quote from Malcolm Frank, executive VP at Cognizant Technology Solutions sums up this intense shift:

“We’re at a time of dramatic change. I love that old saying ‘if you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevancy even less. No change is called Kodak, it’s called Newsweek, it’s called Blockbuster. So for individual organizations, if you don’t change in the next five years and change in some pretty significant ways, that where it’s all going to end up. Embracing change means also embracing failure.”

A big part of this change is realizing you don’t know what you need to know… yet. And that’s OK. You need to be open to new ideas and constantly seeking out new information. Another scary statistic: 21% of marketers said the skills for which they were hired are now obsolete. And nearly everyone – 97% of marketers – are doing things they’ve never done before.

What’s more, the CMO role continues to evolve. Kathy Button Bell describes the CMO role: “We are no longer simply CMOs. We are Chief Transformation, Integration, Inspiration Officers.”

And it’s true – 78% of marketers now have greater input on corporate strategy and 77% have a seat at the executive table.

So whether these stats leave you feeling inspired to make a change or nervous about the future, get ready. Change is here and its not going anywhere!

All statistics from research conducted by the BMA and Forrester Research, in partnership with Erickson Research. See more here.

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