The Role of Marketing Leadership in Business Growth

gigcmo
Whether your firm is a start-up, an SME or an established player, marketing leadership can transform your business’s fortunes. Mark Magnacca, Founder of gigCMO, explains how he and his team help companies of all sizes prosper regardless of industry or origin.
 
Many years ago, a wise person said “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two - and only two - basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business." That individual was Peter Drucker, a name unknown to many but as influential as Steve Jobs was to the world.
 
Drucker was not referring to the marketing department but to what makes the company and its product different. It is the most critical element in a company’s success. Today, we hear stories about financial engineering, production, management, legal and human resources. However, that is not what the customer buys - it may shape the experience, but its essence is its differentiation.
 

Q: What does gigCMO offer clients that other consultants don't?

Answer
 
We're a different type of business growth consultancy because each of us has risen through the ranks to become marketing leader, a Chief Marketing Officer and many of us progressed further in the C-suite to the CEO’s role. We understand the P&L (profit and loss) and how marketing drives revenue, but we also acknowledge that it's often the second largest expense item after people for a company. Return on investment or, what we refer to as return on marketing investment (ROMI), is critical for any organisation.  
 
So when you engage with gigCMO, you have a commercially and customer-focused partner with the experience of providing marketing leadership in a business just like yours. Effectively, you are tapping into our brainpower which is what clients want.
 
One of my favourite quotes is from Albert Einstein, who said: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”. gigCMO also brings that treasured outside perspective.
 
When we first launched five years ago, we were one of the first companies to talk about fractional CMO’s - marketing leaders on demand. Today, we offer four engagement models to fit the needs of potential customers.
 
They are the original Fractional CMO solution, the CMO Roundtable, the CEO Whisperer, and the recently launched CMO Whisperer solution.
 
Our core marketing capabilities are:
  1. Strategy & insights

  2. Creative & content

  3. Media & channel activation

  4. Customer experience & personalisation

  5. Measurement & marketing ROI

  6. Product & pricing

When we go into a client meeting, we review their capabilities and enablers and benchmark them. We then provide a valuable roadmap to help the company increase its revenue and deliver improving ROMI.
 

Q: What does a fractional CMO do that's different to a full-time CMO?

Answer
 
There are four key benefits:
  • Staffing to the valleys, not the peaks
  • Industry or out of industry experts as required
  • No rookies
  • Engage gigCMO not one person
Companies do not need more managers, especially in this world of Zoom. 
 
Ask any business leader what they would like to have more time to do, and it is to focus on their prospective and existing customers and their needs. They want to be outwardly focused and ensure the company is providing value to their target audience. 
 
For example, let's say you're a start-up and have not employed a CMO yet. You have management but not a marketing leader to work with the founders to drive the target audience’s strategic engagement. And given that you are in the early days, the incremental cost to the business of another permanent C-level leader might be just too much. Hiring fractional talent solves that problem.
 
Or, you may be a well-established business and thinking of the importance of the CMO role, and you may be considering an interim CMO who is full-time but not a permanent hire. Both have their benefits, but both add significant overheads. 
 
The CMO role is complex and must fit the needs of the business. For example, if you are looking for someone to run your existing team, you may be looking for a CMO who is a professional general manager. If you are aiming for a complete marketing rebuild, you may need a creative rebranding expert. Or perhaps your focus requires a digital wizard? Each of these situations requires a different skillset.
 
A strategic injection of a fractional CMO can help define what is required and deliver the business’s marketing leadership. It is cost-effective and purpose-driven.
 

Q: What does a Roundtable do?

Answer
 
A Roundtable is a unique proposition that harnesses the expertise and brainpower of multiple Fractional CMOs. 
 
gigCMO Roundtable allows founders and CEOs to access multiple business and marketing leaders to validate an idea, provide candid feedback to a potential pitch, or get valuable insights into a new market, within 1 to 3 hours virtually.
 
It gives clients access to four key benefits:
  1. That precious outside perspective
  2. There is no long term commitment. 

  3. It has a very high ROI and 

  4. Quick, actionable feedback

It may be that your business is going into a new market and you want to check if your value proposition is robust enough. Perhaps you're a company based in India, for example. You've been very successful in your home territory, and now you want to go to the USA. Still, you don't know how to present yourself as a credible alternative to existing suppliers that already have a presence in America. The Roundtable can work with companies to make sure they are market-ready.
 
The roundtable is used to vet a sales pitch to strategic customers. 
 
A roundtable with a client’s CMO to discuss the best options to restructure their marketing team is also something that has had significant benefit. 
 

Q: What is a CEO Whisperer?

Answer
 
The term “whisperer” refers to those gifted with a deep understanding of executive psychology, enabling those who can “whisper” to help a CEO drive their organisation’s performance. The key is to prevent insularity as there is always a danger of being blindsided by a competitor or a market disruption. It is bespoke and discrete service. We only select CMO’s and Marketing Directors with a proven track record of success working as non-executive directors.
 
The CEO Whisperer supports the CEO in strategic decisions facing the business. It may be advising the CEO on mergers and acquisitions, scaling the business,  revitalising a tired sales and marketing organisation, acting as a sounding board or providing coaching to the CEO.
 
Most CEOs want to know how marketing is going to contribute to the bottom line. However, in many cases, the CEO is likely to have risen into their role through the organisation's financial side and doesn't have the breadth and depth of experience to ensure marketing drives revenue to the optimal level.
 

Q: You have recently launched CMO Whisperer - how is that different?

Answer
 
We engage with a lot of CEOs, CMOs and upcoming marketing talent. We had feedback that there was a gap in the market in a role that provided a holistic approach to developing marketing performance, leadership impact, personal growth and access to a network of peers.
 
Chief Marketing Officers tend to have the shortest tenure in the C-Suite. There are many downsides to high turnover in a role that profoundly impacts brand value. In other words, a CMO’s success is a company’s success. 
 
CMO Whisperer is an on-demand initiative that either a marketing leader or an organisation can subscribe to.
 
We support marketing leaders who want to benefit from our expertise. We can coach, mentor and guide them and ensure that marketing strategy and plans are geared for maximum commercial performance.
 
For upcoming marketing talent, the opportunity to have an experienced CMO as a whisperer is a significant advantage in their personal and professional development.
 
There are three levels of intervention as well as bespoke programmes depending on the needs of the individual.
 
For an organisation, it provides a credible solution to assist in the leadership development of marketing leaders.
 
For example, maybe a newly promoted CMO needs to address skill and knowledge gaps or an existing CMO would benefit from a more rounded approach to contribute as an equal member of the c-suite. Or maybe on an individual level, they need a sounding board to check their ideas and concerns from an outside perspective.
 

Q: What type of business does gigCMO work with? 

Answer
 
Our experience spans start-ups, scale-ups and multinationals, working alongside senior leadership teams and owners, investors and Boards on critical strategies and programme delivery – often in highly regulated industries and with significant cross-cultural challenges.
 
We are established in the UK, and the USA recently set up a presence in India and are approaching the Chinese market.
 

Q: Are there particular situations when a company might benefit from a Fractional CMO?

Answer
 
Yes, a multitude. 
 
For example, revenue may be stable or eroding. 
 
There may be a new market on the horizon. 
 
Or the organisation may be doing well but focusing on tactics and not creating long term value or increasing the stickiness of the offer.
 
If a company needs a marketing leader, we're the people to come to for any situation. 
 
You might be a start-up that now has funding and is looking to grow. You might be an established SME that never had a marketing leader - the business is running well, but you want to increase the revenue line and do something new to achieve it. 
 
You may be looking to go into new territory (everyone at gigCMO has international experience, so if your home market is in India and you want to go to the USA, we have Fractional CMOs in both areas). 
 
You may have an established business seeking to outmanoeuvre a new competitor who has disrupted the market, or perhaps your profits are dwindling, and you need to assess why to do something about it. 
 
There are many situations in which a business would benefit from an injection of CMO services. The flexibility of what we offer means we help each with a tailored solution.
 

Q: What are the common misconceptions about the role of marketing in an organisation?

Answer
 
There is a number. 
 
When we talk about marketing, we’re talking about your business’s philosophy and ensuring it permeates the whole organisation. It's everything from PR to sales to advertising to social media and internal marketing communications. It's how you get all of that working together for maximum business impact and the firm's benefit both short- and long-term.
 
Many confuse the marketing department with marketing strategy and leadership. Marketing strategy is a fundamental part of business development and generating sales. It's a role that deserves its place in the C-Suite. 
 
The other misconception about marketing leadership is that you only think about when times are good, and it's the thing you drop when times are hard. That's because when people talk about marketing, they talk about it in terms of marketing spend when they need to think of it in terms of investment. 
 
Marketing strategy is about understanding the market profit opportunity, positioning oneself, and demonstrating the value proposition. You should only ever stop marketing if you want to stop selling. If you’re going to bring money into a business, you have to have a strategy for doing it, and that's the role of a marketing leader.
 
In today’s hyper-competitive world with waves of disruption, it is so vital that marketing leaders work collaboratively across the leadership team as equal partners driving revenue growth. It sets a critical example of behaviour for all of the marketing and sales teams. Equally important is to put the customer first. Usually, that requires more in-depth segmentation than expected, but it will also provide critical insight into customer motivations and behaviours. Finally, we bring a clear and sustained focus on the return on investment.