Monday, July 28, 2008

Common Attributes of Today's Leading Tech CMOs

Each year IDC completes a rigorous study of technology marketers' efficiency of their marketing organization. This includes over 100 of the leading tech. firms, representing over $400 B in revenue. To help separate the "leaders" from the "laggards", I've developed a Marketing Performance Matrix (2x2 matrix) to stratify marketing leaders and laggards. Each participating company is located on the Matrix as a function of the efficiency of its organizations' operations and the effectiveness of its execution. However, the numbers are only part of the analysis. We also interview the CMOs at several companies within the leadership quadrant.

Here's a bit of what we've learned from these market leaders:
  • Gain the trust of your CEO and CFO. Nothing gains the C-level team’s trust of marketing more than demonstrating fiscal management responsibilities and receiving high praise from the sales organization. Nortel’s executive team was extremely impressed with the operational rigor that Lauren Flaherty, Nortel’s CMO, has brought to Nortel’s marketing organization; including her team’s progress in managing marketing investment and aligning with sales for effective execution in target markets. Her progress gained her a sizable increase in marketing budget for 2008.

  • Stop doing more with less. Marketers need to stop the cycle of continuing to expand their number of activities with less money and staff and aim for quality and impact from a fewer number of marketing campaigns. Sun Microsystems demonstrated this discipline in 2007. Sun’s marketing leadership team has been driving the marketing organization to develop fewer but more effective GTM campaigns and has reduced the number of worldwide campaigns from 82 in the past (pre-2007) to no more than 6.10 campaigns currently in the market. HP Technology Solutions Group’s (TSG’s) CMO, Deb Nelson, has rallied her troops around three to five integrated marketing campaigns.

  • Leverage a strong, senior marketing team in the regions to stay close to the customer and improve your team's agility and reaction to market and competitive shifts. More advanced marketing organizations have established processes and infrastructure across their marketing organization that enable greater decentralization without losing management insight and influence. One example is Avaya: according to Jocelyne Attal, Avaya’s CMO, "corporate marketing needs to act more as a governance function." Citrix’s CMO, Wes Wasson, hired more business-oriented marketing executives to strengthen its regional presence while also putting a global professional development program in place.

Please feel free to contact me at for additional information on this study or add your comments below.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Stop Doing "More with Less"!

For several years now I've heard the adage that marketers need to "do more with less". That is, during the "Internet boom" technology marketers enjoyed the "excesses of marketing investment", resulting in the luxury of having a sufficient number of people and significant backing for program investment; while today, as a result of significant budget cuts and reorganizations, we feel the need to maintain the same number (or more) of programs and campaigns with fewer people to support them.

Well, I think that we need to stop doing "more with less". That is, aim for quality and impact from a fewer number of marketing campaigns, programs and activities. Sun demonstrated this discipline in 2007. Sun's marketing leadership team has been driving the marketing organization to develop fewer but more effective go-to-market campaigns; reducing the number of worldwide campaigns from over 75 in the past (pre 2007), to no more than six-to-ten campaigns currently in the market. Another example of this strategy is evident at HP TSG, where CMO Deb Nelson has rallied her troops around 3-5 integrated marketing campaigns.

Challenges of stopping the cycle of doing more with less include: shifting marketing's culture to be more strategic versus tactical (not an easy feat with continued pressure from sales for short-term results); achieving marketing's buy-in and alignment with much fewer campaigns, which may result in a lack of support for some products or geographies in the interest of focus, at least in the early stages of this process; putting in place key staff and processes to improve marketing organization's efficiency and effectiveness with this new strategy (e.g., campaign management, marketing operations, sales enablement, a shared service marketing team); and collaborating with sales leads and other CMO peers for development and buy-in to this strategy.