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LoB_Blog-CMO-roundtableJust about every single marketing leader constantly faces one big problem: doing more with less. Buyer journeys are becoming more complex. Channels, both online and offline, are exploding. Investing in MarTech is a must. And the cost of great marketing talent isn’t getting any less expensive. 

Whether you’re a billion-dollar public company, or a startup, you face difficult choices every day about where to best spend your limited marketing dollars. In our latest episode of Lay of the Brand, we hosted our first-ever CMO roundtable with Matt Howard, chief marketing officer of Sonatype and Stephen McCarney, vice president of Marketing at OPAQ, to glean their insights from the marketing frontlines. 

Here are the top three takeaways you can start applying to stretch those marketing dollars:

Sometimes, You Have to Say “No” to the Big Tradeshows

As a marketing leader, you’ll have to make some hard decisions as to where to spend those limited dollars. While it may be tempting to attend all the industry tentpole events, there are times you’ll have to forego such events in order to be more strategic in establishing a healthier pipeline. 

For example, if you’re just starting out in the security industry, you may have to initially skip the big events like RSA to form smaller, more intimate gatherings. While RSA is important for making your name known in the security ecosystem (you’ll want to attend sooner rather than later), these smaller events can actually help you build relationships with your prospects while diving deeper into your messaging and communications strategies.

Be Empirical, Not Emotional

When it comes to gauging success, you need to know what the benchmark is for a company that’s relatively around the same size as you and growing at a similar rate. This means paying attention to your competition and making decisions that aren’t emotional but are instead empirical– informed by data and metrics that drive profit and loss (PNL). 

For example, if your best-in-class peers are spending 60 percent of their budget on programs and 40 percent on compensating their teams, then you’ll want to replicate their example.

As CMO, you also need to make very close friends with the CFO and understand the financials of the business so that you’re making decisions in a financial context, and not just in a marketing silo.

Choose Wisely When it Comes to Assembling Your Marketing Team

As important as the strategies and technologies are, it’s truly the people who make all the difference to success. When hiring, be absolutely sure that you need someone on a full-time basis before bringing them on board while outsourcing for any overflowing needs. For example, at the very least, it’s important to have a content “Tsar” who manages all things content as well as a full-time designer so that you can stay agile and flexible. 

In terms of skills and expertise, success is inevitable when companies strike the right balance between more seasoned professionals and high potential, low-experience, low-earners (HiPos). HiPos are just as vital as they bring the grit and hunger to learn and grow with your company. 

Looking for more tips and insights on the intersection of marketing, PR and technology? Subscribe to Merritt Group’s Lay of the Brand podcast!


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