In this CMO Perspectives series, we ask a group of esteemed CMOs from different backgrounds and industries a pressing question and share their answers.

This time we asked: What metrics and initiatives are the most important to your CEO right now?

Here’s what they had to say…

Bonni Kaplan DeWoskin, VP, Marketing , Homethrive, Inc
CMO Club Chapter: Chicago

“I love that today’s CEOs care about marketing metrics. It means that marketing has moved up the corporate ladder and is playing a more important role in strategic vision and direction. I’m fortunate. Homethrive is a high-growth B2B2C mid-stage start-up with co-CEOs who have a great understanding of the value of marketing.

While we are starting to track and measure many of the traditional marketing metrics, MQL, SQL, CPL, website visits, etc. Our CEOs care most about the ones that have a more direct impact on the bigger picture: user engagement rates, customer retention rates, NPS, conversion rates and LTV.

From my experience, determining what metrics to track and share and collecting that data is the easy part. The hard part, and our biggest challenge today, is how to interpret that data in a meaningful way so that it influences future action. We are in the process of developing an easy-to-read, visual weekly marketing dashboard report that will tie results to our business objectives and include trends, learnings, and recommended actions based on those learnings.” – Bonni Kaplan DeWoskin

Tony Kempa, Managing Director, (CMO) Executive Leader of Marketing, Business Development, & Brand, ESD (Environmental Systems Design, Inc.)
CMO Club Chapter: Chicago

“Our CEO has a CEO scorecard. It is focused on our clients, employees, and financial health/performance. He expects our leadership team to contribute to meeting the goals listed on the scorecard – intended as a balanced, ethical, and responsible way to lead and grow our company.

There are specific metrics supporting each area on the scorecard. Within the client verticle, one of the things we measure is our Net Promoter Score. For employee experience, we report on the percentage of employees completing Employee Pulse Surveys semiannually and employee turnover rate. Financially, the scorecard focuses on growth, investments, and risk mitigation.” – Tony Kempa

JD Dillon, CMO, Tigo Energy
CMO Club Chapter: San Francisco & Silicon Valley

“The metrics we are reporting to our CEO are:

  • # of Press Releases and resulting coverage
  • Quantity & quality of sales enablement outputs (presentations, one-pagers, etc.)
  • Subjective feedback on the website and then objective visits to the website
  • # of Attendees at Sales Webinars [Note – he does not YET find this important, but will]”  – JD Dillon
Doug Zarkin, VP, CMO, Pearle Vision
CMO Club Chapter: NYC

“For us it’s the continued focus on filling the exam book, ensuring that Pearle Vision is the destination people trust with their eyes. We rebounded nicely in H2 2020 and so our eyes are focused on building on that momentum with an even stronger H1 2021.” – Doug Zarkin

Leor Franks, Business Development & Marketing Director, Kingsley Napley
CMO Club Chapter: London

‘The most important facets of marketing metrics for my CEO are that they should be free of technical jargon and have a clear, visible alignment to business goals.

I distill metrics into four stages of what I call the client ‘Favourability Journey’: Recognition,  Reputation, Relationships, and Revenue.  Broadly speaking, these equate to activities around Brand, Communications, Marketing, and Business Development. Personally, I think such siloed thinking is unhelpful, so have removed these labels from the teams I run. Instead, I encourage holistic analysis of the client, and their stage on the ‘journey’, rather than which part of the function should take the glory. Each stage of the journey has defined tactics with embedded metrics that clearly link to goals agreed in business plans which the CEO has bought into. And these, of course, are in plain English!

As far as initiatives go, the number one priority for us right now is cutting through ‘noise’ in the market caused by convergence on digital channels. The impact of lockdown has been to remove in-person meetings, events, roundtables, and hospitality from the marketeers’ arsenal. As a result, everything is on Zoom, and clients are overloaded with seemingly identical invitations for interactions from every player in the market. The result has been poorer engagement and decreasing ROI.

To my mind, the two most successful options to cut through are content and ‘halos’. Content, as always, has to be timely and address the burning issues that keep clients awake at night. And today, it also needs to make sense of the volatility resulting from Covid-19. Halos relate to engaging external individuals with name recognition to partner with us by, for example, moderating an event. With timely content and a ‘star’ name, we are best placed to cut through the noise caused by everyone else doing the same undifferentiated things.” – Leor Franks

Faisal Laljee, Global CMO, expondo
CMO Club Chapter: London

“Being a scale-up e-commerce business, we have three main marketing KPIs, that the CEO and the rest of the c-suite monitor very closely. It should be no surprise that these are Sales, Return on Ad Spend (ROAS), Customer Acquisition Cost, and Customer Lifetime Value. Of course, there are other KPIs like Conversion Rate, Repeat Rate etc, but the four mentioned above are the most relevant for our business.” – Faisal Laljee

Suneeta Motala, CMO, AfrAsia Bank Ltd
CMO Club Chapter: Mauritius

“Being in a ‘new normal’ context, we are facing challenges which require closer collaboration between business and marketing functions, constant customer listening and nurturing, and fast adaptability to client immediate concerns, while keeping a close eye on budgets. The CEO is ensuring that key metrics are relevant to us attaining business priorities while remaining in line with our financial realities. The metrics observed go from ensuring that the brand remains top of mind to monitoring loyalty amongst our customer base.

Staying top of mind & developing leads:

  • Advertising Value Equivalency – For all publications in the local/international media (print, tv, radio & digital)
  • Audience reach, engagement rates & conversion rates – For physical & online events

Staying in line with business objectives:

  • Cross-Sell Penetration Rate – With a focus on client retention in these difficult times (costing us much less than investing in acquisition)
  • Churn Rate
  • Marketing Expenses as a % of Total Operating Income
  • Profitability per client allows us to reward clients appropriately

Ensuring close relationships with important customers:

  • Customer Satisfaction Index & NPS
  • No. of complaints & resolutions

In terms of initiatives, our focus has mostly been on content development and events organization (new online events have been developed) to remain as close as possible to our existing customers. Our objectives have been to provide relevant insights to our target audience on threats and opportunities in the marketplace in these uncertain times; client education on financial solutions and topics of concern to them; collaborate with external partners/experts adding value to our own brand; capitalize on our positive actions in the community and promote sustainable products/solutions; launch an advertising campaign which reinforced our belief in a better tomorrow and our fundamental values; and finally provide the necessary tools to our staff as our brand ambassadors.

This is allowing us to remain top of mind with constant visibility in the media and other channels while remaining relevant to our customers and empowering our staff.” – Suneeta Motala