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A Look Inside the Mind of a CMO

By Sander Biehn | Sep 15, 2015


A few weeks ago, I had the great opportunity to have lunch with the Chief Marketing Officer of a Fortune 400 consumer services company. We discussed everything from the coming wave of Millennials to his dissatisfaction with his sales force. We even discussed the future of Thought Horizon and our path to scalability. Getting access to the mind of a powerful CMO was invaluable for us.  Let me share a few of the meeting’s key take-aways:

  1. It’s all about referrals. When it comes to social media, this CMO is not concerned with impressions or CTRs. He is only concerned with referrals. A high percentage of his new business comes from referrals, and all of his social media efforts are concerned with how to get his current clients/customers to influence others to use his service.
  1. Content. Content. Content. This CMO produces quite a bit of content that is unbranded and appears to be published by a 3rd party. He is creating his own influencer marketing. Because of this, his SEO scores are through-the-roof.  His unbranded long-form content helps him get those referrals that he desperately seeks.
  1. No One Really Knows How To Use Social. This CMO admitted that he is spending a lot of money on social, but he hasn’t figured out how to use social in a way that drives real ROI. He knows that social isn’t going to disappear, but believes that it is still in its infancy. There are a lot of things to figure out in social media marketing, and a clear path forward is still a few years off.
  1. Millennials! Millenials are scaring the hell out of traditional marketers because the standard marketing frameworks don’t seem to apply. Where the funnel was once liner, it is now multi-variable, and can change directions on a dime. While he is reluctant to give up traditional frameworks, he knows that we all are going to evolve our thinking or die.
  1. 3rd party buyers and sellers. These 3rd party groups are taking highly branded products and services and commoditizing them by selling them all at the same price. This changes marketing forever, and is a trend we should all keep an eye on.

Would you agree or disagree with this CMO?