How To Pitch Your CMO
By Daniel Murray
Today’s guest is a legend with 30+ years in Marketing. 30 years.
Marketing Bestie, meet Peter Mahoney.
A former CEO and advisor to current CEOs and CMOs, Peter gives us an inside look into the mind of an executive and how us Marketers can properly pitch a Marketing plan.
Let’s see what he had to say on The Marketing Millennials Podcast, in his own liiiightly edited words.
1. If you do this, stop:
“Just because you got a result doesn’t mean you’ll keep getting the same result. Certain channels are going to perform better some days and others will decay over time.
Then there are these over the top new challenges that come in, like the new cookie rules and targeting that make Marketing harder.
As a Marketer, you should always be running new experiments to find out what you can do to deliver better performance over time.
It’s the idea of dethroning your own best performer over time.
The important distinction though, is that you have to do it while maintaining a strategic coherence (THIS).
So you can’t just run random things all the time. You need to make sure that you’re actually building towards something, you’re aligned, and you have a coherent strategy.
Otherwise you’re just going to be spitballing stuff all the time and that doesn’t work (and is soooo inefficient).
2. How to present a campaign to your boss:
The first thing you need is a goal. What are you trying to achieve?
You’d be surprised how few people actually understand the goal of the campaign.
A goal isn’t just a blanket statement that you want more sales.
The goal should be a high level description that you need to drive more sales, while outlining metrics, targets, and milestones.
Okay, you’re measuring sales, is that revenue, is it pipeline? It’s probably revenue.
Then what’s your target? $10k, $100k, $10M?
Establish your milestones along the way. If you’re running a 6 month campaign and you expect $600,000 of revenue, does that mean $100,000 a month? Probably not. (There will be some ramp up there.)
Frame out what you expect the outcomes to be.
Then make sure there’s a clear understanding of what the business impact of that outcome is. If you’re dealing with revenue, that’s usually pretty clear, but you have to consider margin.
You need to do the napkin math at the beginning to understand the financial impact of what you’re trying to do.
Then comes the strategy, what are you going to use to achieve that outcome?
So to present a campaign to your boss successfully, come prepared with the goal, the strategy, and the financial impact of the campaign (*takes notes*).
Then build your plan and track your performance against that plan over time.
3. A key unlock code for your career:
One of the things you have to do as a Marketer, is find someone in the Finance department doing financial planning analysis.
Or if it’s a small company, go to the CFO and ask if they can explain to you the P and L of the business at a very high level (ok I absolutely love this).
This does two things. One, it will help you understand the basic framework of the economics of the company, which is critically important.
Two, it’s going to forge a more meaningful relationship between you and your finance counterparts. You want them to have your back. They have to be a key partner for you because what you’re doing as a Marketer is investing company resources to deliver outcomes. That’s it.
So you need to understand what investments you’re asking for, the value of the outcome you’re getting, and if the outcome is more valuable than the investment (which is KEY).
If you understand those simple concepts, you’re going to be leaps and bounds ahead of most marketers out there.
4. Familiarize yourself with this data as a Marketer:
Everything is cyclical.
People will get hyped up and think everything’s going to grow forever. The reality is there’s always going to be a time where it comes back down to Earth.
Understanding those financial fundamentals are really critical (flashback to Finance 101).
Marketers are getting better and better at understanding these things. If you ask a Marketer, what’s their cost per outcome or their cost per opportunity, they can give you a reasonable estimate of that.
The other thing you need to know is what’s the value per outcome? If you’re selling something for $10,000 and 25% of opportunities convert, an opportunity is worth $2,500.
And if you know 5% of leads are going to close, that means the lead is worth $125.
That’s super important to understand because if your cost per lead is $40, awesome keep going.
If your cost per lead is 2000 bucks, you have a real fundamental problem.
As a Marketer, you have to figure out the basic economics of your business.
5. How to pitch a brand campaign to the CEO:
People will come to me and say how do I justify this brand campaign?
The first thing you need to do is have a thesis for the value. Why are you doing a brand campaign?
There are a couple of reasons why you might do a brand campaign, one may be that nobody knows your category and you need to educate people.
What that does is create more net new organic opportunities for your business.
People are at the top of the funnel, exploring your business in your category, it’s broad awareness.
The other type of branding campaign you might do is a perception campaign.
If you’re in a competitive market, what you need to do is increase your win rate.
And there’s a massive difference between win rate and play rate. If it’s a broad awareness campaign, focus on play rate. If it’s a perception campaign, focus on win rate.
And you need to have a thesis for that, like 5x your organic opportunities that come into the business. Then you need to do the math (so much math in today’s email, but it’s SO important).
What are your current organic opportunities? What’s 5x that? What’s the conversion rate of those things historically?
You need to have a logic chain you can articulate to the CEO to say, I’m going to do this with the purpose of driving more organic business and with the goal to increase organic business 5x through this campaign.
If you come without a framework for logic, then they’re unlikely to approve it.”