“The best way to get more resources as a marketer is to start showing results.”
That simple “aha” moment stopped me in my tracks at MarketingProfs’ B2B Forum. I was listening to Chris Moody, a marketer who has learned how to show big results no matter how big his budget or team, at Red Hat, Oracle Marketing Cloud and now at GE Digital.
He was describing a common scenario for marketers: You land in a great marketing job. You can’t wait to get started, and then you realize you’re working on a shoestring budget with a nonexistent team and huge goals to achieve. Several years ago he found himself in that position, he said. He was swamped and needed help, so he went to his boss to ask for more money and another team member. The answer: We have to execute first.
So Moody got crafty, and learned to do make a big impact working with what he had. I interviewed Moody to get his tips on creating and executing a scrappy marketing strategy.
What’s one tip to help marketers get better at documenting their mission and goals?
Most people just assume they know what their mission is. But if you don’t have it written down, it’s not a documented goal or mission. Only 37 percent of marketing teams have a documented content strategy (CMI/MarketingProfs).
What makes you excited to do your job? Your mission needs to touch on that. Most people gloss over the mission and goals, or their goal is to sell more stuff. Find something more aspirational.
At Oracle, our mission was to improve the marketing practice. If we helped marketers get promoted, that was a success. We were trying to help people, to do something good.
At GE Digital, we’re literally transforming the way manufacturing works. That’s something you can get excited about. GE is a company with a long history of manufacturing excellence and strong ties to the American fabric — we’re talking Thomas Edison. So our goal is to transform the world by applying technology to industrial companies.
What elements do people usually miss when they make a marketing plan?
The biggest thing people miss is alignment to an overarching business goal. If you have one goal, it’s easier to see how your marketing plan will help you achieve that goal. Marketing plans often skip to the tactics, but don’t answer the question “Will this plan help us achieve our goal?”
Marketers have a perception problem in the C-suite. If you can communicate how marketing is impacting the bottom line, you will be perceived as a much more effective marketer. It’s easy to fall prey to vanity metrics like clicks and opens and Twitter followers, but those usually don’t matter to the CEO.
Speaking of metrics, how have you zeroed in on the marketing metrics that are most meaningful in your work?
It all starts with something that most marketers probably aren’t involved in, which is setting overarching business metrics. Most places I’ve worked, every year the leaders determine top-tier goals. Marketing metrics should support those goals.
Ask yourself: What would the CEO or head of sales care about? How do we map our reporting to that? If the answer is culture or customer advocacy, and having people like and care about your brand is important, likes and shares may actually be strong indicators to track.
Metrics really depend on your business, but if you’re not tracking the waterfall of leads to opportunities in some way, you’re probably missing the boat. If you sell anything, you need to track your contribution to sales.
I’ve made some mistakes in what I’ve tracked as a marketer. In past roles, I was expected to track activity. How many tweets did we send, how many blog posts did we publish? But if I go to a CEO and tell her I’m doing a great job because I tweeted a bunch and wrote two blog posts this week, she’s just going to stare at me blankly. As marketers, we have to take it upon ourselves to change that. We have to talk to leaders about which metrics relate to the bottom line. We have to share the insights — “this didn’t work, but this did, and here’s why. Showing that learning is something leaders care about.
Think about your reporting in terms of resume bullets. If you were talking to someone who’s going to hire you, would you say you tweeted 100 times a week at your last job? Probably not.
What have you learned about marketing so far at GE Digital?
I’m surrounded by people with Ph.D.s. I’m always the dumbest guy in the room here. My mission is to bring content marketing excellence to our subject-matter experts. I want to use content to be a trusted adviser.
My best tip for doing that: Ask questions. Talk to the people who are with customers every day. There’s no telling how many valuable blog posts you can create from one 30-minute discovery call with someone who knows the customer.