Historically, marketing has been a somewhat undervalued resource in running a business. Now, as technology advances every day and our lives and work are on the go all the time, our CEO discusses how the role of the CEO has changed within Marketing.

As the CEO of a business employing over 75 people, with over 200 active customers and growing, I have noticed the changing of the tide in recent years. While it was acceptable in the past for a telemarketing business development campaign to target prospects with a new solution or service that may not be promoted on the website or social media, with the adoption of the internet through increased mobile usage and greater reliance on social media as a news/information channel it is ever more important to make sure that there is a coherent strategy to integrate all your customer engagement points, ensuring that all interactions verbal or visual deliver the same message.

Coming from a background of IT Sales myself, the priority has always been to generate sales leads that can be converted into customers and repeat business, with less consideration given to how those leads reach us in the first place. However, over the past few years it has become ever more important to have a strong marketing strategy and a coherent message, in order to reach our sales goals and further expand the business.

Of course marketing is a very wide business discipline, in a similar way to manufacturing. There is inbound marketing, outbound marketing, content marketing, direct marketing, e-marketing, digital marketing and many more, all of which are a means to a common end. They are all about ultimately generating leads to enable business growth.

Outbound marketing is about actively going out to find leads, Inbound marketing is content-led and is about bringing the customer to you. But if you are integrating both an inbound and outbound strategy, does it matter how the lead is generated? Does this affect how the business grows?

The answer to both of these questions is yes. Being aware of where most of your leads are coming from allows a CEO to ensure the marketing budget is being spent on the appropriate channels, and push more money into the areas performing successfully. Tracking these changes and analysing your results can only help your business grow.

Marketing, of course, is no longer just about solely finding new business opportunities in existing or new clients to achieve growth; it is also about marketing to staff and potential future staff to assist your growth objectives. Your business and brand are online 24/7, as are your staff through LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social networking. So what is the role of the CEO in the marketing function?

My personal view, given the way we all use the internet and social media is that the CEO MUST be highly savvy with regards to marketing. It is no longer good enough that the role of marketing is managed by a junior member of the team. The CEO must help to set the tone of the marketing, and ensure that the culture and message of the business backs this up.

As our adoption of the internet has increased due to advances in technology and everyday life, it is ever more important to make sure that there is a coherent strategy across all of your business platforms, in order to ensure your message reaches your target market at every opportunity. Everything is available all the time, a few taps on your smart phone or a brush across the keys of your computer. If your brand isn’t on message everywhere, a competitor’s might be and you could lose out as a result.

Equally, it is critically important that businesses which have embraced digital in their marketing strategy ensure that the digital leads and expressions of interest are contacted by a “real person” who can add value, empathise with the issue of the prospect and progress in helping them buy your solutions or services.

Marketing is in everything that we do in business, and it always has been, but now given the integrated online & real” world we must make sure that our strategy and message is coherent. Our calls to action can be heard and our follow-up is prompt and co-ordinated.

You might also be interested in our previous blog post 'Building a Sales Pipeline: Issues with Mapping Through Large Organisations'

If you would like to have a conversation about my experience of seeing successful Clients’ CEOs engage with their marketing strategy, please email me neil.ritchie@inco-online.com I would love to hear from you. Alternatively, click below to request a free marketing analysis from our Marketing Team.

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