HomeBlog CMOs: What Kind of Conductor Are You – Jazz, Classical or Both?

CMOs: What Kind of Conductor Are You – Jazz, Classical or Both?

April 16, 2015 | By Alan Gonsenhauser

  • Precision requires process, logic and consistent orchestration like the mathematically consistent phrasing in classical music
  • Jazz requires expressing your creativity, using your gut, developing audacious breakthrough ideas, and taking risks
  • Today’s CMOs need to be holistic conductors, balancing creativity with precision

Hopefully, as a CMO, you like an eclectic mix. Today’s CMOs need to be holistic conductors, balancing creativity with precision. You need a good balance of both to be really successful in today’s complex market. Let’s listen:

chaosBeing innovative and building strong connections with customers and prospects is like jazz. Remember Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis or Benny Goodman? Jazz requires expressing your creativity, using your gut, developing audacious breakthrough ideas, and taking risks to connect with target audiences in a really memorable way. They won’t remember numbers as much as how you made them feel. You won’t get big ideas from spreadsheets, either. Creativity requires you to:

  • Make an emotional connection. Appeal to buyers’ and customers’ emotional side to make the strongest, most lasting connections that they will remember and tell people about.
  • Fail fast and often. There is no set formula for success. Frequent experimentation and failure are often the only way to learn the right path forward. Have the courage to take risks, experiment and learn. The most successful people in history were the biggest failures over and over again.
  • Think of breakthrough ideas. Recognize that industry breakthroughs always come eventually. Be ready to disrupt your own business model before new entrants or competitors do.
  • Bring your customers along. Discover new and better ways to help customers get their jobs done more easily, more conveniently or at a lower cost. They may not know how until you show them.
Precision

Precision requires process, logic and consistent orchestration like the mathematically consistent phrasing in classical music. Remember Vivaldi, Bach or Handel? Over the last several years, digital and social media have enhanced the measurability of marketing’s impacts and value to the enterprise. Effective data analytics and process management are critical to lead efficiency and continuous improvement in today’s marketing organizations. To enable precision, you must:

  • Leverage precise analytics. Observe and analyze buyer and customer behaviors to tee up the correct content and messages to the right personas at the right times.
  • Continuously improve processes with dashboards. Define how you track data, and look for and act on exceptions to move the business forward in a repeatable and structured way.
  • Leverage new technologies. Automate repetitive processes using technology and methods such as the Demand Waterfall® to optimize conversion rates and reduce process handoff times and costs.
  • Correlate cause and effect. Statistical techniques enable better automated lead qualification and improved understanding of why deals were won vs. lost.

So start making some beautiful jazz as well as classical music. Blending strong creativity with precision makes you a better marketer. It’s impossible to quantify creativity except in the rear-view mirror. And you can’t run an efficient marketing operation without the precision that data analytics and technology afford. Balancing both makes marketing far more interesting, effective and fun.

Alan Gonsenhauser

Alan Gonsenhauser is a Research Director of CMO and Marketing Executive Strategies at SiriusDecisions. He is passionate about accelerating growth, driving innovations and leading business transformations. At SiriusDecisions, he works closely with global chief marketing officers and sales and product leaders to drive positive organizational change and cross-functional alignment, benchmark against peers, and mobilize deployment of new marketing methods to accelerate innovation and growth. Follow Alan on Twitter @agonsenhauser.

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