Why CEOs Hate Marketing…Or Do They?

by / ⠀Career Advice Entrepreneurship / November 18, 2021

CEOs don’t really hate marketing; they just like things structured and certain…which marketing isn’t. CEOs must learn to be freewheeling.

Marketing Investment: The Reality and Fantasy.

Marketing is a hateful thing for CEOs. They can’t do anything about it. They have to pay cold, hard money for something that isn’t guaranteed.

Marketing is a passion for CEOs. They are excited about marketing’s potential to drive their company. What happens is that they end up being disappointed often (and frequently) because they believe they “get what they pay for.”

So going out with a credit card and expecting the return they want is still expected. They only understand that it is a buy-sell transaction. It doesn’t always work that way.

1. Do some marketing “Couples Therapy.”

How can you build a closer relationship with your CEO and your marketing team? Here are some tips.

Know what you know and what you don’t know. The CEOs of some of the most successful strategic partnerships bring a clear idea of the type of marketing they require. What’s the surprise? Let’s pause.

When we think of the revenue stream, we consider their options in terms of how many target markets they can choose from. We learn which channels are not working with their target audience and which ones work. It’s important to think about the target audience and the purchase cycle. Is it too long for revenue goals?

When we have a discussion about a strategy, and really map it to their business goals, then they’ll know what to do.

2. Be realistic about the time frame.

Every CEO wants his or her company to be a household word by tomorrow. We know that the most successful business leaders around the globe will tell you that things take time. It takes trial and error; you have to experiment with different options. It’s not easy.

Every CEO must have time to learn. So ask, “Why not marketing?”

3. Know what you can do right now and what you should wait for.

It’s understandable that not all businesses have the time. In the last 18 months, some businesses have experienced significant and unexpected revenue drops.

There’s always a way of finding the low-hanging fruit. There has always been a way to identify the right set of activities that you can do today and need to do to generate revenue. What happens? The result is revenue that can be used to finance the marketing work you need to complete the next stage.

4. Show some marketing love.

It happens all the time…CEOs begin their narratives with three identical questions about marketing that keep them awake at night: What amount do I need to spend? What? What?

The answer would be simple: these business leaders would have a love-love relationship only with marketing. It takes work. It’s a lot of work to run a business. Every day brings new challenges. You can navigate the marketing “hungry beast” with the above approach.

5. Your brand is your destiny.

Saying that CEOs hate marketing is rather somewhat tongue in cheek. CEOs really love the results that come from good marketing. But, as stated above, they don’t much care for some of the ways good marketing is achieved.

This is why your smart CEO must be both flexible and open-minded. Because marketing departments will always want to break out of the box. Marketers are born outside of the box. To them, inside the box is the same as inside the prison.

Guerilla marketing is just one example of what CEOs not only have to put up with but also, in most cases must guide and encourage. When a guerilla marketing plan works, the resulting publicity and positive branding reflect well on the CEO. When unconventional marketing schemes go awry, then the CEO takes the blame. Goes before his or her board of directors. And maybe loses their job.

So the CEO is dependent on their marketing team not only for product branding but for personal branding.

That is why Wall Street keeps reminding CEOs that their brand is their fate.

A CEO with a positive brand can ask for and receive anything they want from their board of directors. On the other hand, a CEO who is associated with a tainted brand is going to face, among other things, negative publicity. Calls for resignation. Journalistic scrutiny. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Even after a CEO may have been booted because of a bad branding incident (which is actually the fault of marketing) they still often have to live with the stigma of failure.

About The Author

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Editor in Chief of Under30CEO. I have a passion for helping educate the next generation of leaders.

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