Generally speaking, someone with a title like Chief Marketing Officer has a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience in all aspects of marketing. Because of this, a CMO is the perfect person to know what is more and less likely to work. So what are the top 5 tried and true marketing strategies that executives recommend to other business leaders? As part of this interview series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Adriana Lynch
Thank you so much for doing this with us! To start, can you share a bit about what brought you to this specific career path?
I started my career with Citibank, in Sao Paulo, as an undergrad. After four years in financial markets, I had the opportunity to join Proctor & Gamble to help launch the company, specifically Pampers, in Brazil. I will tell you, there is no better place to learn Marketing. I fell in love. At P&G, Marketing is as much a science as it is art, and that appeals to me. My motto is “In God, we trust…everybody else brings data!”
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person you're grateful for?
When I was with Citibank in Brazil I had my first Mentor. Honestly, he still is a mentor. He believed in me as a young professional; believed I could fulfill my dreams, challenged me when I doubted myself, and played a critical role in my life by writing an incredible letter of recommendation to Harvard on my behalf. We are still close, and I consider him a role model to the global business community.
What do you think makes your company stand out?
This may sound “cliché” but Chief Outsiders is an incredible community of mind-like professionals. We are 120 Chief Marketing Officers and Chief Sales Officers (CMOs and CSOs), and the common denominator among us is our eagerness to learn from each other. Marketing and Sales are an incredibly complex ecosystem, with new developments in neuroscience and technology daily. By leveraging our collective knowledge, our clients benefit by being served with cutting-edge marketing and sales strategies and plans.
Are you working on any exciting projects now? Tell us about it!
By far, the most impactful work I do is with The HearAid Foundation, which provides hearing aids to those who cannot afford them since hearing aids are rarely covered by insurance in the U.S.
Allow me to explain the root of my passion for this cause. I am an only child and once I became a (PROUD) American Citizen, I sponsored my parent's green cards and they both moved to this country at the ripe age of 75. My dad (who passed away four months ago) always suffered from Meniere’s Disease, which left him deaf. That’s when I met Dr. Jack Shohet, a renowned surgeon and wonderful human being who performed a cochlear implant on my dad. Being able to hear again brought my dad back to life! After six years in total silence, my dad was becoming isolated and depressed… now he was back to being “my dad.”
Frustrated by the lack of insurance coverage for hearing aids to help those in need, Dr. Shohet founded The HearAid Foundation and asked me to join as a Board Member in 2012. This was the perfect opportunity to put my business mind and gift to work for the greater good. Fast forward to 2015. I became the volunteer CEO for the Foundation.
We are all volunteers, a daring and daunting business model for non-profits, but it allows 100 percent of all donations to benefit those in need (ok, 99 percent, we have to host the website, buy stamps, etc.). Whenever I have the pleasure of attending a fitting, i.e., the session where an audiologist fits a recipient with his/her brand new hearing aids, I cry. It is a life-changing moment for our recipients and I am honored to be a small part of it.
With so many different types of marketing out there, has any one area had a bigger impact on your business over the rest?
I would be remiss if I did not say Digital Marketing takes the lead. And Digital is a very complex world. Let me give you an example.
McKinsey did a study (*) on B2B buyers' preferences showing how much of each phase of the buyers’ journey (Research -> Evaluate -> Order -> Reorder) is being done online in a self-service way. The study showed that, thanks to digital channels, this behavior has changed dramatically over the last three years.
In the Research phase, for example, there has been an 85% increase in the preference for B2B buyers to conduct their research online. If we look at the Evaluation stage, the results are even more dramatic, a whopping 238% increase in buyers’ preference for self-serve.
The implications for B2B Marketers are huge—they must be competing online, providing the information and details that buyers are looking for, and having a comprehensive content strategy to win.
Buyers are no longer willing to accept less from their professional experience as B2B purchasers than they are accustomed to getting from their personal experience as consumers.
Results of this survey showed that those suppliers who provide outstanding digital experiences to their buyers are more than twice as likely to be chosen as primary suppliers than those who provide poor experiences.
A thorough digital audit of your business's digital footprint, as well as of your competitors, is the first step in identifying what you need to work on to address the buyer experience.
And this also has profound implications for the evolving roles between Marketing and Sales.
How often do you try a new marketing strategy, and which ‘boxes’ does it need to tick before you’re willing to implement it?
Consumers’ and buyers’—who are our target audiences—behaviors change constantly and part of a Marketer’s challenge is to a) monitor those behaviors towards specific categories and b) adapt plans and strategies to match the new audience’s expectations. I am a big fan of “test and expand.” I am constantly trying new marketing strategies and plans but at a test scale.
In your opinion, is it better to try out new marketing tactics or to stick with what you know works? How do you decide where to allocate your budget and resources?
As I said, today’s marketers must be willing and prepared to constantly try new strategies and plans because our audience’s behavior is fluid, and we must adapt. However, we have to do so in a fiscally responsible way, hence the “test” approach. The budget for the test should be reasonable enough that, if the test proves not to be successful, you paid for the learning. However, the test budget needs to be set at a statistically significant level, meaning you have to know how much it would cost if the test works and you want to expand and the company would have the resources to do so.
Having reached this space, what are your top five most successful marketing strategies? What kind of results did you see?
1. Know your audience. You would be surprised at how many companies do not talk (or listen) to their customers. Insights are the cornerstone of a solid marketing strategy that will then lead to strong marketing plans. Many CEOs are afraid of “insights”; they think it will be expensive to gather them and will take too long. Not true.
- Survey Monkey or Sentiment have built-in audiences, are very affordable tools to talk directly to consumers, and the response turnaround is relatively quick.
- Win/loss analysis is incredibly powerful for understanding how your customers and prospects think and where the company's strengths and weaknesses are. I advise hiring a 3rd party to conduct a win/loss analysis, as customers tend to be more “polite” and less forthcoming when talking straight to the company’s personnel.
2. Understand and follow the customer journey. Journeys are different for B2C and B2B audiences, but generally they follow the same pattern:
B2C: Awareness -> Consideration -> Trial -> Purchase -> Experience -> Advocacy/Referrals
B2B: Research -> Evaluate -> Order -> Reorder
- Understand how your customers become AWARE so you reach them through those channels; then
- Understand what they are looking for to even consider your offer as an option; finally,
- Make sure you touch them at every step of the journey, it’s a map for how you deploy your marketing plans.
3. Be responsive. Especially if you are in Business to Business field. In general, B2B leads receive staggeringly slow responses from sales teams. Consider this: a lead response study of 2,241 US companies found that:
- The average first response time of B2B companies to their leads was 42 hours
- Only 37% of companies responded to their leads within an hour
- 16% of companies responded within one to 24 hours
- 24% of companies took more than 24 hours
- 23% of the companies never responded at all
This is both a sobering statistic of businesses failing to make the lead response a priority and also a brilliant opportunity for responsive sales teams willing to engage leads before their competition calls them back.
4. Embrace a purpose. Today’s consumer demands to ally with business with a PURPOSE—a business with a soul. Take, for example, Tom’s Shoes and Bombas Socks, which donate a pair of their products to a child in need for each one purchased. Their mission is to help children in need of shoes and socks worldwide, and they enable their mission by selling their products PROFITABLY. (Warning: don't pay lip service to consumers because they can see right through it; businesses must mean it.)
5. Know your digital landscape. That means not only knowing how your website, SEO, SEM, and social platforms are performing but how your competitors are approaching it and how they are performing. Where is their traffic coming from? What are their conversion rates? Are they eating “my lunch”? Investing in a digital marketing audit (which is not that expensive, we do it for clients all the time) is possibly one of the best investments in your business and should be part of your yearly budget.
Can you share a time when a strategy didn’t deliver the results you expected and what you learned from the experience?
This is not a failure story per se but it is important “watch out.” Even if you are certain your trends are positive, beware of overconfidence!
When positive trends are the best time to plan for the future, what can you do better now, in the near future, and the next 12 months? We call it planning for Now, Near, and Next.
To sustain growth, keep an eye on your competition and get into the habit of looking at your internal Strengths and Weaknesses, and the external Threats are Opportunities. The classic SWOT analysis. Make sure to take the time to have one well done, then make it a living, breathing document that gets revisited every quarter.
What expert tips can you share with those who just starting to build out their marketing strategy?
Your marketing budget and strategy go hand in hand: build them simultaneously.
First, I like to split the budget into Non-Working and Working dollars.
Non-Working is the dollars you use for product ads, pay agencies, distribute samples, etc. Working dollars are the dollars you pay to touch and communicate with your customers directly: in digital media, that is, your PPC campaigns, Paid Social. In traditional media, that’s the radio, print ads, addressable TV, etc.
One crucial point: you should never spend more in Non-working dollars than working dollars. That balance is critical. By splitting your budget that way, you can set two metrics:
ROI = Mon-Working + Working dollars/Sales
ROAS = Working Dollars/Sales
Lastly, if you could inspire a movement that would bring a great amount of good to the most people, what would that be?
Giving the gift of hearing through the HearAid Foundation is the movement I dedicate my life to. Twenty percent of people in the US have been affected by hearing loss, often leading to problems with balance, lack of speech, isolation, and depression. Over-the-counter hearing aids are a first good step to help some, but since those hearing aids amplify all sound frequencies equally, they mainly help those with mild hearing loss. I urge all of you to visit HearAidFoundation.Org and donate to give the gift of hearing.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
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