Dear B2B CMO

At the end of last year, my clever friend Gini Dietrich asked if I would participate in her new e-book project, “DearCEO: Letters to the C-Suite from Experts on Vision, Culture, Community and Integration.”  Her idea was to gather a kaleidoscope of smart advice for CEOs to consider for 2011 and beyond. As I re-read my letter, I find it most relevant for B2B CMOs:

Dear B2B CMO:

Ever have that nagging feeling you are forgetting something? You are…and it’s probably impacting your sales.

Is it an integrated marketing strategy? I don’t think so.  Your 2011 budget? Nope, that’s been set for ages. Benchmarking your sales targets for Q1? I’m pretty sure you have that covered.

You’re forgetting your people. “That’s not true,” I hear you say. “I’ve written the performance reviews, signed the 2010 bonus checks and even hosted a team holiday party.”

Those are good things and I’m glad you’ve done them. But it’s not enough.

The sad fact is that most of your people are woefully unprepared for the tsunami of change that is impacting the marketing services sector. Whether you are in public relations, advertising, website design, direct marketing or promotions, it’s fair to say you are in trouble.

“But wait,” you say. “Our team already knows about the collapse of print publications…we’ve assessed the impact of the mobile explosion on our products…heck, we’ve been sharing predictions for 2011 on our own individual Twitter handles.”

It’s great to hear you are thinking ahead. But you’re still falling short.

That’s because you expect your colleagues to develop innovative new strategies in spite of their outdated roles and skill sets. Think about it. A forward-thinking integrated marketing strategy deserves forward-thinking teams with integrated capabilities.

What have you done lately to help your own siloed marketers evolve to match the times? You need a deliberate, brick by brick plan to help each professional begin to change from:

  • “Press release writer” to “content strategist”
  • “Advertising creative” to “visual vocabulary specialist”
  • “Webmaster” to “user experience expert”
  • “Researcher” to “issues management”
  • “Marketer” to “analytics quality control”
  • “Direct marketer” to “sales conversion analyst”
  • “Customer liaison” to “community engagement manager”
  • “Event planner” to “videographer and editor”
  • “Regional marketing lead” to “local markets expert”

In many cases, you may need your staff to take on several or perhaps all of those new identities. They can’t do it without your help.

If I were you, my first steps would be to 1) develop new training strategies, 2) identify different career mentors, 3) benchmark the talent development approach of market leaders and 4) incent the new behaviors that will support your vision.

For 2011, I hope that you’ll remember that no strategy can succeed with the right people executing the right tasks.

Thanks for listening,

Elizabeth Sosnow

You can find out more by following the hashtag #DearCEO on Twitter. My co-authors are all fun, bright people who have good ideas about how to improve your marketing and business strategies.

The first 10 people to leave me a comment below will get their own free copy of Gini’s e-book. After I run out of copies, I urge you to head over and purchase a copy yourself. It’s a fun and thought provoking way to test your own assumption about the business year ahead. Speaking of you, will you tell what your 2011 advice to a CMO or CEO would be?

To reach Elizabeth:

Phone: 212.840.0017
Twitter: @elizabethsosnow
LinkedIn: Elizabeth Sosnow