Become Financially Savvy
Moving up the ranks and taking on leadership roles in my own marketing career, I quickly learned the importance of becoming fluent in finance and accounting. From managing budgets, expenses and profitability – at a department, product, customer or project level – you are a much more effective marketing leader when you have a solid knowledge of the financial impact of your efforts and monitor them daily. When you’re on top of the numbers, you have the foresight and agility to change course when things aren’t going as planned. Looking at the financial impact of your revenue mix, customer churn, and recurring revenue can help you become aware of serious issues and adjust your marketing efforts to address them before they have significant negative impact. Lori Gabrielli echoes the importance of understanding finance. She says, “When you know how to communicate your numbers up the chain, the more value you can bring to the business and articulate that value to leadership.” Being able to demonstrate to the c-suite how marketing is driving business success gets you one step closer to having a seat at the table.
Inform Decisions with Data
With the ability to collect and analyze data that we have today, there is no good reason not to lean on that data to guide informed decision-making. If you want to make it to CMO, says Andy Sayare, “Become data-driven and ROI focused. It’s all about the metrics and this is a trend that is not going away.”
With so much data available and the proliferation of more and more of it, the challenge lies in determining exactly what data insights are meaningful to what you’re trying to accomplish, and then putting a solid strategy in place to capture, track and manage those metrics. For most marketers, these data points include typical funnel activity, sales conversions, revenue mix, and customer retention insights, and may also include more granular monitoring at an account, individual or specific activity level. Once you are clear on exactly what data matters to your business, all of your most important decisions should be directed by that data intelligence. Regular monitoring and reporting is a fundamental part of the marketing role, and as you move up in ranks, your peers in the boardroom will look for you to bring data to the table. As Mark Yeager, career B2B technology marketer and President of our firm Yeager Marketing says often, “I think’ is no longer an acceptable rationale for any critical business decision without data to back it up.”