The CMO is dead, long live the chief STOROI officer

Philippe Ruttens explains why CMOs should be following the STOROI framework. Complete with tips, tests and tricks to make your marketing team a success

Dear CMO, let us start with a short quiz:

One-minute CMO test:

  1. Would you prefer your CFO to consider you as a costly supplier or a true strategic partner?
  2. Do you think your CEO really cares about how creative your latest brand campaign was?
  3. Is your CFO going to give you 5% more budget next year because your social engagement rate doubled?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, I fear that you and your team’s career growth might hit a ceiling in 2020.

Interested to know why your focus on branding and advertising is too short-minded?

Will you dare re-assess your operations and reinvent yourself for the sake of your team’s survival?

Why avoid the right focus?

According to the CMO Council, almost 70% of CEOs now expect CMOs to lead revenue growth, and believe their company is wasting money on marketing initiatives.

The 2019 Annuity Demand Marketing Survey confirmed it again recently: 80% of non-marketing business leaders with a brand-focused CMO think marketing focuses on the wrong metrics. Meanwhile, 45% of marketing leaders see their main expertise as “demand, sales and revenue-focused” and only 1-5% of B2B MQLs actually turn into dollars. This is worrying.

What concerns me too (from recent B2B Marketing Ignite feedback), is how many traditional ad and branding agencies still seem to be stuck in the 90s. Their unsurprising focus on outbound and fluffy, less measurable communication elements is not helping CMOs advance to the right board level.

What happened to “you can’t manage what you can’t measure”? Do some “industry leaders” not consider managing ROI as critical?

Do we still need to debate the need to cover rational and emotional triggers and develop story-based content accordingly? Of course, the 4Ps and 5Cs of marketing have not disappeared, but your board now requires a much tighter focus on ROI.

TIP: Take a 30-min self-assessment through the RM6 Pedowitz Group or ruttens.com/learn and compare your performance to B2B 2019 benchmarks such as DemandSpring or the Revenue Marketing Index.

Those CMOs and colleagues who do not invest at least 30% of their collective team time in commercial data, revenue and ROI concerns will likely be dead in the water by 2025, or even before depending on your board and sector. If you are not generating at least an ROI of 4:1, get ready to face some hard conversations with your CFO and CEO.

TIP: If you’re not tracking at least half of these seven KPIs, you might want to take your CFO to lunch and have a brainstorm around your respective metrics and objectives.

  1. Funnel volume and conversion – from MQL to contract won.
  2. Content and brand performance (from click, page, asset and keyword to revenue).
  3. Marketing-originated and influenced customers and leads pipeline.
  4. Time to revenue (lead and opportunity stage velocity).
  5. Return on marketing investment (ROMI).
  6. Customer acquisition cost (CAC).
  7. Ratio LTV/CAC.

How to move from a cost to a trust and revenue centre in five stages

Content, stories, brand reputation and trust remain key in B2B marketing. After all, we still play on a human-to-human field.

However a more thorough and structured approach is required to ensure each marketing team engages its seven communities optimally. This requires pain point-based content while delivering maximum ROI at every step of the buyer journey, 90% of which should measurable.

The foundation behind the STOROI framework (below) resides in an insights and stories-enabled approach that aims to build trust through the right measurable focus and ROI optimisation.

©Ruttens, Arrow diagram illustrating journey through insights, stories, trust, revenue, ROI

Depending on the CMO mindset, and team maturity, the required transformation path to full ROI could involve three to five stages:

©Ruttens, Diagram: stage 1 focus through insights, stage 2 rebuild using stories, stage 3 wow with trust,  stage 4 grow revenue, stage 5 boost ROI

From the focus to boost phase, each marketing team needs to follow a set of 30 steps to ensure their transformation is as smooth and rapid as possible. The alignment with seven internal and external stakeholder communities is also crucial and needs to happen in stage one.

Tip: A shortlist of 13 steps from the full five-stage STOROI framework:

  1. Align your marketing plan with CEO, CFO, CCO priorities and goals.
  2. Perform a mini audit using data.
  3. Shortlist you 10 priority stakeholder questions.
  4. Zoom on 20-80 channels and campaigns with a sprint mindset.
  5. Upgrade personas, pain points, and buyer journey using data.
  6. Focus your content calendar and plan on ROI assets.
  7. Develop 12 to 18-month roadmap across seven key streams.
  8. (Re)Organise your martech-maps along a lead-to-revenue process (L2R).
  9. Coach your team and sales (playbook, talent management).
  10. Develop sprints and score quick wins.
  11. Accelerate funnel along with sales (communications, training, shared KPIs).
  12. Focus on monthly KPIs improvements.
  13. Make stop/start/scale weekly decisions (dashboard).

Who do you need to bring on board?

Regardless of where you start your ROI journey (demand gen teams could start at stage 4), the core issue for revenue-mature teams is not about gathering or analysing data anymore. Packaging your insights into stories and visualising these to engage all targeted audiences,  doing the “marketing of marketing”, is what I call STOROI – or using stories to build ROI.

Fundamentally, B2B CMOs need to transform their team and operations into a STOROI marketing engine, collectively combining five key skill sets (with an individual marketer developing at least two of these skills each):

  1. Analysts
  2. Creatives
  3. Leaders
  4. Storytellers
  5. Sales.

“Less than 10% of CMOs and B2B marketers seem to be revenue/pipeline marketing teams, with full attribution and ROI optimisation. CMOs’ speed of change must accelerate faster than your board’s expectations or the 2020s could be B2B marketing’s worst decade"

Judging by B2B Marketing’s Ignite, brand creativity and martech tools still occupy too predominant a seat in the B2B community. Data visualisation, insights and content are the crucial secret sauce to keep engaging all your internal and external stakeholders in that precious middle of funnel. Keep all eyes on converting trust into bottom of funnel advocacy and, ultimately, make ROI as relevant to your CEO as it is to your advocates.

Core Principles

  1. Start from a solid data and insights foundation. B2B marketers need to keep a list of key questions on their stakeholders’ mind; these will form the basis of your storytelling and ROI strategy.
  2. Measure every touchpoint, asset, campaign and channel. The right dashboards will grow and optimise your team’s efficiency and market impact.
  3. Build and share semi-personalised stories consistently. Get your B2B marketing engine to perform better than your competitors’ do.

Start 2020 as a STOROI engine, not a cost centre. There is no other option for you.

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