In today’s improving business environment, company leaders need to focus on their big picture “make or break” to grow topline revenue. Marketing once again has emerged as an essential tool to distinguish a brand—staying top of mind with consumers is critical to success. And leaders who recognize the benefits of marketing are poised to grow their companies.
As a CEO or CMO, one of the most valuable things you, along with your leadership team, can do is determine your company’s marketing make or break. A make or break is the one thing that must be done extraordinarily well to achieve your company’s vision.
The marketing makes or break for a senior living or retirement community, for example, could be to communicate to the adult children of the elderly to ensure high engagement with the decision makers and bolster referrals. For a resort, it might be to market to corporate and event planners to drive meetings and weekday bookings to decrease vacancy. A manufacturer may want to target its messaging to appeal to C-level finance personnel, while a hospital’s marketing make or break could be to attract top doctors.
Step 1: Quantify Your Objectives
The first step in determining your company’s marketing make or break is to understand your marketing vision and objectives. It essential they be believable, measurable and obtainable. Look at what you want, what your product is, and what category you fall under. Then set quantifiable goals, describe exactly what you want, and put value to it.
Step 2: Commit To The Process
The most successful leaders drive their marketing make or break at the detail level. As a CEO or CMO, you must commit to leading and coaching; however, the best ROI comes with cooperation from all staff members, so empower them. Hold the team accountable and set clear expectations. Move forward daily, not quarterly, so that everyone can react and adjust as needed.
Your entire team must believe in the benefits of marketing and commit to the process, as well. One of the most important assignments you can give your staff is to establish future indicators—trackable results that indicate efforts are moving forward toward a goal. P&Ls look back. Actions create results. Measure activities that lead to revenue and growth. Activities, future indicators and results all funnel down to achieve your goals.
Step 3: Get Engaged
Lead your sales and marketing efforts by strengthening your knowledge in these areas—attend sales meetings and actively coach through storytelling. Outline the benefits of marketing specifically for your organization. Do not delegate leadership in this area to a direct report, even at the highest level.
At the same time, you must be able to make decisions and have control with little time invested. Others must be inspired to take ownership of the various strategies. Streamline the process and provide incentives to keep your team engaged and on track.
Step 4: Update Your Competitive Advantages
Marketing messages have evolved as more and more companies invest in understanding their brand’s position in the marketplace today. Challenge yourself and examine your competitive advantages. If they are out of date, address it, develop new language and test them on loyal customers.
One way to uncover powerful insights about your unique selling propositions is through a Competitive Advantages Discovery. This agency-led collaborative workshop engages a core group within an organization for a deep dive into each participant’s view of the company—both strengths and weaknesses. As a team, agency and client gain perspective on what sets the company and its products apart from the competition.
With 20 years of advertising and PR experience, Debbie Szwast understands the multifaceted nature of marketing. A true believer in the art of communication, she acquired an MBA in marketing and a Master’s degree in writing. Today, she calls on the knowledge she has gained over the past two decades to formulate big-picture strategies and execute comprehensive marketing plans for clients across the country.