by Jim Lenskold

Making Your List and Checking it Twice

At the end of each year when you head into the gift-giving season, it makes sense to consider what the key people supporting the company’s marketing will value most next year. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Chief Marketing Officer – What the CMO really wants is a seat at the table. The company is so dependent on marketing for top-line growth yet the language gap between traditional marketing metrics and the CEO objectives seems to get in the way year after year. Boardroom respect and a career path leading to the CEO position would be appropriate for those CMOs who have been exceptionally good and attentive to their contribution to corporate profits this past year.

Marketing Managers – Marketers are getting pressured to take on greater accountability so how about equipping them with planning tools, analytic staff, and enough budget for testing and analysis to help them succeed? A reliable and consistent marketing ROI process can be just the right gift to nurture the exceptional strategic and creative talents of marketing managers.

Brand Managers – Your brand managers are the tough ones on your list. Many are comfortable with what they have and receiving anything new may be perceived as disruptive. What brand managers ultimately need is clear connection to bottom-line results and an actionable approach to manage brand equity. You may have to look hard and invest some time to deliver just what they are looking for but it will be worth it.

Researchers & Analysts – There are the obvious gifts they’d love such as better data, new analytic tools or more sophisticated marketing models but what really may thrill them is a solid framework for measuring and managing marketing ROI. This includes mapping a detailed sales and marketing funnel, creating a process for measuring and assessing progression through the funnel, and understanding the key drivers of profitability. And simple gratitude for those attuned to the right metrics will bring the spirit of the season to life.

Sales – Those companies with separate sales and marketing teams need to wrap up and deliver a nice package of faith for their sales team. Sales needs to have more faith in marketing which will only come as marketing can demonstrate their commitment to driving more sales. Aligning the objectives of sales and marketing will start you on the path to peace and harmony. And don’t forget that tighter integration and a seamless sales and marketing funnel are the types of gifts that keep on giving.

The CEO and CFO – Now here are some folks you can really surprise with the right gift and it’s quite a simple one. All they want from marketing is an idea of what’s being generated from the budgets provided. Give them the answer in terms they can understand (i.e. profits, ROI, stock value, etc.) and they will be your friends for life. They are likely to reciprocate with faster budget decisions and potentially increased budgets. And they just might be willing to offer that coveted seat at the table for your CMO.