Life’s Too Short to Work for a CEO Who Doesn’t Get Marketing

It might feel like everyone in your organization has an opinion about how you should be doing your marketing. But the only opinions that really matter are the CEO’s and the marketing team’s – after all, they’re the ones executing it.

So how can CEOs and marketers make sure they’re aligned?

Dave Gerhardt, Founder of DGMG, hosts three big-time CEOs who get the new way of marketing to discuss balancing a CEO’s vision with achieving realistic goals.

📣 Panelists include:

Listen to find out the best ways to talk about innovation vs. revenue, validating unattributable marketing activities, and how to align the CEO’s expectations with your team’s ability to deliver.

⚡️ Top takeaways:

Takeaway 1: Guardrails can help keep everyone on the same page

Misalignments or even stalemates between CEOs and marketers often happen when CEOs zero in on outcomes and proceed to micromanage the details along the way. A better way is to empower marketers to take ownership of initiatives by setting guardrails.

One way to do this is for the CEO to communicate their vision in a way that marketers can clearly understand their desired outcomes. For example, using a vision board or a storyboard. Sharing how the result should look and make people feel becomes the point marketers can fill in by using their expert knowledge.

An added benefit of empowering marketers with ownership is that it opens up space for new, better ideas. Ownership gives them permission to be creative and this can 10x initiatives, all while helping motivate marketers to execute and go above and beyond those initial outcomes.

Takeaway 2: Justify unmeasurable marketing activities with strategy storytelling

It’s not possible to tie each and every marketing activity to a KPI or prove their results. Marketers know that this doesn’t make them any less worthwhile, but explaining them to board members can be a difficult conversation.

When the time comes to justify those initiatives that seem unattributable (on the surface), remember that your story is your strategy. How you talk about your marketing activities is just as important as what those activities are. But if sharing your vision isn’t enough, go deeper by talking about your wider acquisition methods.

Compared to an activity like creating LinkedIn ads, activities like updating your website, recording a podcast or speaking at an event have far more ambiguous results. But these can work alongside your other more measurable initiatives to drive organic traffic and, ultimately, conversions. Attributing these to revenue or ROI is hard – it’s pretty much impossible – but it’s all part of the overarching marketing strategy and can be invaluable in the long run.

Takeaway 3: Transition to a revenue-focused mindset by setting strict limits

Pivoting from a lead-focused approach to a revenue-focused one means that everyone needs to be on board with the changes. So getting buy-in from C-level executives is vital.

As both marketers and CEOs want to boost revenue, successfully shifting to a revenue-focused approach can be straightforward. The advice is to set limitations to keep the conversation on revenue goals and activities that drive it.

Defining what revenue qualifies as attributable to marketing is a good place to start. Then being strict with time parameters (such as tracking them quarterly) and what needed to happen in that timeframe (e.g., a lead touched within that quarter that converted within the same quarter), can help you create a rubric for measuring success.

While the CEOs say these benchmarks are, to a certain degree, arbitrary, they allow you to speak in a language that C-level executives and marketers can understand, keeping you all on the same page.


David, Manny, and Gil share their thoughts on how to find the equilibrium between revenue focus and creative innovation.

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