By: Janine Pares, Managing Director, Thinksmart Marketing
This article originally appeared on the Thinksmart Marketing blog.
The necessity of all enterprise level businesses to drive the disruptive growth agenda and generate new value is a given, but how this is achieved and who leads the charge is up for the taking.
A recent report from Accenture revealed that in Australia most CEOs are leaning towards the chief sales officer as the person most responsible to drive disruptive growth. As CMO there’s every reason to put your hand up and take on the mantle of chief growth officer.
Why? As CMO many of the decisions you make have an influential - and often immediate - impact on your organisation. Marketing has a legitimate (and necessary) role to play as the centre for revenue generation and drive the disruption that is needed to remain relevant. Here’s how.
Drive organisational alignment toward the customer
As marketers, we fight hard to quash the myth that marketing is simply the communications department. Fundamental to this is the influence marketing can have on the strategic direction of the business to identify new market opportunities, additional revenue sources, and customer experience improvements that nurture brand loyalty and advocacy.
To enable this step change in any business requires strong alignment across all disciplines influencing the customer - be it sales, digital, customer service or otherwise. Alignment doesn’t need to be solved structurally, but it does require commitment to overarching goals, outcomes and measures of success. This helps pave the way for better working relationships as a united team with separate responsibilities driving in the same direction.
Define your future customer experience
Having a constant finger on the pulse of customer experience is essential to stay ahead of trends. Beyond analysing what customers are already asking for, instil the practice of anticipating what their needs and wants might be in the future. Current actions and behaviours can provide clues to innovations they'll love in the future.
In doing this, it’s important to balance hard measures with soft measures, look outside your industry to get some eye-opening insights into how your customers are behaving with other brands. How those brands are innovating to create better, stronger experiences, and how they’re monetising those opportunities. Working across a range of sectors, I’m always astonished at how many similarities there are across organisational challenges, and customer behaviour. Stepping outside your industry can provide critical learnings that you can apply within it - and keep you ahead of competitors who may be operating within the confines of the status quo.
Embrace digital in the broader sense
Digital is no longer simply a channel for communication - it’s increasingly a way of life. How are you embedding and optimising digital as part of your go-to-market strategy? How is it transforming the way you operate the business internally and with customers? How is customer behaviour (B2B and B2C) influencing the way you leverage digital to remain relevant to your customers?
Digital Transformation is high on the agenda for most businesses today - whether that’s in your remit as a CMO or not, the underlying needs and drivers that influence it should be. Accenture goes further and raises the need to be ‘digitally experienced’ and understand how new technologies impact the technologies your business is already using - positively and negatively. Innovation is as much about future proofing as anything else. Today, digital is becoming a key component of that in some form or another.
Take charge to break the mould
And finally, it’s ultimately your mindset as custodian of the revenue centre that will make the most impact. Take ownership of actions that can establish you as a leader in disruptive growth. Ask questions and challenge the status quo. Introduce ideas that will inspire double-takes and plant the seed of change. Back your thoughts with the data (hard and soft), and cite examples for what is working for others, including those outside your industry. Seek partnership opportunities with brands that may be beyond your sphere, but that can provide significant benefits to your customers. Be sure to test and measure so you can capitalise on gains and deliver incremental improvements along the way.
Disruptive growth requires not only disruption of a business model – it requires you to disrupt your current paradigm of thinking.
Disruption requires change, and change is hard to do. Be bold. Be brave.