The Questions You Should Be Asking Your Marketing Expert

The Questions You Should Be Asking Your Marketing Expert

As a business leader, there's often a sense that you should know everything about everything when it comes to how to run your organisation. Of course, that's completely impossible for any one individual. It's why you appoint your C-suite – your very own Knights of the Round Table – to help you in your quest, each with its own specialist area. However, one thing a CEO should be able to do is to ask the right questions to make sure you not only understand what's being done but what needs to be done so that you can lead effectively.
Knowing the questions to ask is a leadership skill in its own right. It provides the ability to create and monitor strategies, tools and operational procedures efficiently, effectively and without wasting time and money – especially in a world where technology leaves so much less to trial and error.

Marketing technology and a marketing expert are not interchangeable 

Marketing, especially digital marketing, is an omnipresent area in which this need for experience, knowledge and understanding is often underestimated. Many marketing programmes are excellent for delivering aspects of marketing, and in today's digital world, we can't live without them. They help to gather precision data, upon which strategies can be built, and they help to implement targeted approaches as well. 

With that in mind, their reputation often gets ahead of them. As a result, it is sometimes assumed in a small business looking to cut costs, that the martech landscape can replace the role of a marketing expert. However, there's a huge gulf between using sophisticated programmes and reading the information and opportunities that they provide to create implementable marketing strategies. 

Inevitably, what happens when you have the tools but not the expertise for optimising their use, is that you end up having very costly programmes on your hands, some of which may be surplus to requirements, only being used for a fraction of their capabilities or duplicating other areas. In fact, research and advisory company, Gartner, estimated that 'only 58% of marketing leaders report extracting full value from their mar-tech stack capabilities.' Bringing together the right marketing technology with the right marketing leadership is the best solution to delivering the best return on investment.

The questions you should be asking your Chief Marketing Officer

There are two key areas in which you need to ask questions to make sure your marketing technology solutions are being as effective as possible: your in-house solutions, and your partner solutions.

Are your in-house programmes providing a big enough impact to justify the cost? 

Making investments work for their money is an important part of management. Your CMO should be responsible for making the most efficient use of marketing budgets by identifying and focusing investments on programs that deliver high-impact results. That means regularly looking at each one and what they deliver to assess their benefit. Removing the surplus isn’t just about reducing material costs, it will also save valuable time for the marketing team, allowing them to direct their energies in a targeted way. Things to consider include:

  • Are only a small number of individuals using the technology, and if so, why?
  • Are there a large number of underutilised features?
  • Are there serious limitations to the programme compared to what you want from it?
  • Do its features duplicate that of another programme you’re also using?
  • Does it integrate with other technologies within the company?

Which partner relationships are still delivering value?

Whether it’s relationships with agencies, consultancies or service providers, over time the needs of a company and the available options out there, change. Keep track of the quality of work, the resources available on the market and also what you actually need as a company to deliver the strategies you have in place. Things to consider include:

  • How easy/difficult is the relationship? Are there difficulties communicating, delivering or taking responsibility for actions?
  • Could one partner's responsibilities be easily shifted to another existing partner?
  • How valuable is their contribution? Was it intended to be a short-term solution that has run on? Has their value reduced over time?
  • Is their contribution low impact/non-strategic?

On the surface, it may seem as though the available tools could be used without the knowledge of a marketing expert to understand them. However, it's been shown through tail spend, procuring the wrong tools, not exploiting programmes to their full function, and not being able to translate information into action, that this approach is a false economy. If you do not need or want to allocate the resource to a full-time Chief Marketing Officer, the support of a Fractional CMO could be the ideal solution to develop your overall strategy and identify the tools to invest in with the highest return.


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