Why every B2B CMO will need to learn how to play this instrument

September 21, 2020

Why every B2B CMO will need to learn how to play this instrument.

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In my career, I’ve been fortunate enough to have met many Marketing executives, be they Chief Marketing Officers (CMO), Marketing VPs or Managers. I have worked directly with some of them in my companies, and I have also interacted with many others as they were part of our customer’s organization and involved in buying what we were selling.

Great CMOs are special: they need to not only master the sales funnel and customer journey but they must handle a large number of touch points within their company, the community and their teams. Everything needs to work in harmony, with a precise cadence and rhythm. A false note and you can immediately feel the discordance.

I have always loved music, and as a child I was exposed to a lot of classical music. My parents loved it, my brother was a pianist, and I had cousins and uncles who all played a variety of instruments. We would go to concerts and some family members had their annual pilgrimage to Salzburg, Austria for a week of only Mozart concerts. I consider myself part of a musical family.

Why am I talking about classical music when the focus of this article is B2B marketing?

Because I think B2B CMOs are like orchestra conductors. They need to orchestrate many different instruments and they need to do it with constant attention. Just like the great musicians, the best CMOs play with gusto: they understand harmony, synchronization, dynamics and tempo. They have a deep understanding like the conductor and as the conductor elicits a beautiful sound from the orchestra, the CMO gets his team to play in harmony. As you can recognize a conductor by their interpretation of the music, you can recognize a CMO of a company by the way the company is positioned in the market, the way it communicates to all stakeholders. Those aspects of their performance are evident and whenever you interact with them, at every single touchpoint.

A CMO needs to have a profound understanding of all the instruments that are played in their orchestra. Demand generation, communication, pricing, events of all kinds, funnel management, conversions, etc. All of this needs to play in perfect harmony: the right instrument at the right time. Just as the first violin may stand up and play several measures to delight everyone and then again join the rest in a magnificent symphony, so might a CMO personally make a customer feel good about working with your company.

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CMOs need to constantly learn about new techniques and trends and then fit them neatly into their orchestra while the music plays.

Right now there is a new major instrument that every B2B CMO has to learn and incorporate in their orchestra and make sure it plays in harmony with the rest.

And this instrument is a virtual environment where B2B companies are now enthusiastically hosting their events. Whether these events are customer facing or internal, they will use them for reaching out to different stakeholders: suppliers, customers or new employees. It will be a space where you can have gatherings of all kinds, including many more that I can even imagine today.

The ideal virtual environment is one that will showcase your company, your brand and your personality. When you enter you definitely feel you are interacting with the company these CMOs have built the space just for you.

Obviously right now with our health crisis virtual events are a must do. In-person events will not happen for a while. But I do believe that virtual events are here to stay and grow into something new.

The health crisis has created an inflection point and as a consequence we are adapting and adopting new technologies and habits. Many companies in the post-COVID era will recognize the many advantages of virtual events: lower costs, broader audiences, flexibility and other intangibles. And most importantly the numbers are staggering. For each person that attends an in-person event, you have 4 or 5 people attending a virtual setting as it is so much easier to do without traveling. And there is no dilution of quality, as the number of qualified leads is also 4 to 5 times that of an in person event. On top of this the C-suite attendance is an incredible 10 times that of an in person event (this is based on personal discussion with several CMOs in high tech companies such as Gainsight, Okta, MongoDB etc). It is so much easier to just drop in to want a keynote, and/or meet other executives. Last but not least cost is a major factor. A virtual event is one tenth or less the cost of an in person event: and the cost savings are shared by the attendee. This return on investment cannot be ignored by any CMO.

Will in-person events come back? Of course they will; humans are social animals and we love to meet people and network. But even in-person events are likely to change and adapt to a new reality. This is just the beginning, there will be waves of innovation to create virtual environments and there will be hybrid events and just in person events. Maybe moving upscale, to make them incredible experiences. And virtual will need to follow, but the leading CMOs will unleash with their teams incredible creativity. I know they will.

There are several solutions available in the market today, with some similarities and differences. One needs to find the solution that fits best in their orchestra and play well with the other instruments. The adept CMO will certainly find a unique solution and turn a crisis into an opportunity.

Feel free to visit us at tocca.io we’re partnering with some of the most successful, creative CMO conductors in the industry today. Find out why they are choosing Tocca.