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The CMO Change Agent

Yesterday, at the Sheraton Grand Chicago, I spoke alongside award-winning CMO Brian Kardon on stage at the 2017 BMA Masters of B2B Marketing conference. Brian is the CMO of Fuze, but you may also know him from various C-level marketing and leadership roles at Eloqua, Forrester, Reed Elsevier, or Deloitte.

He is, undoubtedly, a CMO change-agent, proven time and time again.

At Fuze, he has built a high-performing marketing team and tech stack (of which Allocadia is proud to be a core component.) We’ve previously featured the advice of Fuze’s Senior Director of Marketing Operations, Ken Evans, as the team aligns marketing plans with corporate strategic priorities (a critical component of Marketing Performance Management.) They’ve been so successful, they recently took home the 2017 SiriusDecisions Return on Integration Award, recognizing strong results and improved company performance and growth.

Becoming a CMO Change Agent
Brian and I were invited to speak about leading change in complex organizations, a role every marketing leader finds themselves taking on. But, being a change agent requires a shift from business-as-usual.
The way marketers used to operate was to make decisions annually, wait for the dust to settle, and adjust plans accordingly. Not anymore. The rise of data-driven decision making affords every CMO the opportunity to be far more accurate and real-time in their investment and strategy decisions. It’s a huge opportunity for Marketing to take a leadership role in the organization.

Check out the impeccable Keynote Ink from Quarry:

Five Components of Driving Change
How can CMOs drive change in companies where it’s often difficult to earn trust and prove impact? We broke the process down into five distinct components:

  1. People – Marketing teams must be aligned internally, and with sales, this we know. But high-growth firms are 3X more likely to align marketing with Finance as well.
  2. Perception – It’s critical to shift the perception of the marketing department from that which only owns brand, to that which drives demand. That means alignment with booking targets, for example, not just new logos and websites.
  3. Process – Marketing leader, put systems in place that allow you to truly support the business, whether it be pipeline growth, clear contribution targets, or high-value target account strategies.
  4. Technology – Allocadia’s award-winning marketing technology stack is clearly divided into two sides, “run” and “do.”
  5. Data – Finally, visibility into your business is key, as it is the precursor to accountability. Both Brian and I use Allocadia dashboards and reports to demonstrate to our executives that we are capable stewards over the investment we make in Marketing. Board meetings are far more manageable with this type of information at our fingertips.

Six Traits Necessary of a Modern CMO
We also shared six important characteristics of a CMO change agent:

  1. Admit mistakes
  2. Encourage transparency
  3. Be accountable
  4. Lead change
  5. Demonstrate data stewardship
  6. Run the business of marketing

Brian, myself, and the whole team here at Allocadia believe it’s time for CMOs to move faster, make better decisions, and inspire the rest of the organization in turn.It’s time to become change agents.