During the recent CMO Club EMEA Innovation and Inspiration Summit, Luis Casado, Head of Marketing Central Europe at HP, moderated an open session about relationship building to help CMOs become more effective.

CMOs attending the breakout session agreed that improved communications would help make their jobs easier – and the business more profitable as a whole.

Breaking legacy mindsets

Mark Hull, head of marketing at Dignity plc, described one of his challenges – trying to convince local franchise owners to stop relying on legacy marketing techniques.  

Experienced stakeholders think they know their customers – but the market has changed and old methods no longer work, “The challenge we’ve got, is that operations know more, or think they know more, about the customer, even though the customer is a very different customer than what it used to be.

Mark and Luis both agreed that identifying and targeting specific individuals within their organisations was key to breaking the legacy mindset. “We offer support to these people as a way to secure buy-in for our brand-building activities,” Mark explained. Luis went a step further;

Make your C-level figures shine by exposing them in advance, by exposing them in the press, by giving them the arms to look good with the right presentations and everything else.
– Luis Casado

Speak their language

Another participant described how the choice of words was vital for securing buy-in from other stakeholders. Marketing phrases like ‘ROI’ and ‘nurturing’ were not having the impact expect, so they changed direction.  Using specific numbers, rather than marketing-specific terminology was found to be much more effective. They also built trust with other stakeholders by volunteering to do their jobs for a day, so they felt marketers were operating on their level.

Brand building with HR

The conversation shifted slightly when Luis admitted that he had little meaningful contact with the HR manager as he felt it added little value to efforts to drive engagement. One participant offered some new insights, suggesting that HR build the ‘people’ aspect of your brand – so it makes sense to work with them. They argued that HR is responsible for global talent attraction and what people say about your business directly reflects on the brand – which means they have an important marketing-related role to play.

Luis acknowledged this was a new concept for him, “It’s something I hadn’t even thought about, so if I take something out of this session, at least, call my HR counterpart and say, ‘How can I help you?’

Communicating through UX

The gap between technical and marketing roles is seen as a significant challenge because ‘brains and languages are just full opposites’ but ‘the group of people who bridge that gap are the UX people.’ 

Another participant described how their marketing team used UX as an ice-breaker, inviting internal people and external people to talk about the topic of world UX. This became an ongoing community discussion because people ‘felt that they were being listened to’. The UX team applies customer insights, so they need to be involved in discussions about user experience and branding for instance.

Again, engagement at a lower level helps to build trust across the business and align marketing strategy for greater effect.

Key Takeaways

  • Promoting the reputation of other stakeholders can help to encourage engagement with marketing strategy
  • If your message isn’t getting through, put it in the language of your stakeholders
  • HR plays a role in establishing your brand, so they should play a part in your marketing strategy
  • UX developers are a useful conduit between marketing and technical teams because they share interests from both parties