Does every company need somebody in charge of marketing to drive growth?

A good question indeed. Let’s narrow the focus of this article to be more relevant to businesses with annual revenue in the $1 million to $5 million range. The reason is that companies with over $5 million in annual revenue already know they need a marketing leader to drive growth for the most part and have probably already used marketing leadership to get them there. And the companies below $1 million in annual revenue, they could certainly leverage marketing for growth but maybe are tackling marketing in-house potentially.

Okay back to the question about if every company needs a marketing leader?  Let me ask… Does every company need a CEO (Chief Executive Officer?  How about a CFO, does every company need a CFO (Chief Financial Officer)? Or how about a COO (Chief Operations Officer). And the list could go on for additional key C-level roles or leadership type roles.  

Titles, Leadership and or somebody managing key functions

I think the first point to note is that let’s ease up on the official titles for a minute and just consider the idea and function of leadership or at the least, somebody in charge of some function within business.  Just to run through the exercise here, first in relation to the CEO, does a company need a leader to run and lead the company set the vision and attack goals? In relation to CFO, does somebody need to know, run and lead finance, cashflow & accounting for a company?  In relation to a COO, does a company need somebody in charge of operations and managing the logic and how the business operates?  

If you said yes to any of those questions or put a different way that you generally feel that there should be somebody in charge of key functions of the business then spoiler alert to the answer of this article is that “yes” you’ll most likely be in alignment about having marketing leadership in place to drive company growth forward via marketing. Remember, we are talking about companies between $1 and $5 million in annual revenue. For companies that are just starting or micro-businesses, then you probably do not need every function as there are plenty of brute-force CEOs/presidents that can push several elements of each function forward. Let me clarify one thing though where even though a CEO could push everything forward, imagine if the CEO could trust and lean on a marketing leader to handle, direct, push and grow their company forward using marketing in a more precise and systemized way? 

Quick Dive Into Marketing

Let me dive quickly into marketing for a minute. At its highest level, marketing’s function and purpose is to understand your company and customers so that you can promote your services & products in the clearest way, use the right channels to do so and measure & optimize from prior marketing efforts. Understanding your company & customers and how you help them win is critical so that for any communications whether marketing campaigns, internal communications, ads, search, AI, video, sales messaging & material, hiring, website, social, and the countless other touchpoints and channels that your customers, employees, stakeholders connect with you through, your message is consistent and effective.   Equally as important is knowing the right channels to use to connect with your customers and that measurement & analytics are in place to know what is working, what needs to be put on pause and what can be optimized. 

The additional layer of marketing is the association of marketing to revenue. At the highest level, marketing that is to promote services & products whether directly or indirectly through a multi-touch approach should have revenue goals attached to them. Or at the simplest point, how is marketing helping the sales pipeline creating more opportunities for your sales team to work and win which ultimately translates to more revenue for your company as a result of using the right marketing approach.

Taking a step back now, when you think of marketing and think of the countless roles, titles, expertise, skills and experience needed to push marketing forward for a company, it might be overwhelming. Some companies in the $1 to $5 million annual revenue range typically might either have a CEO that is getting their feet wet within marketing trying to push random campaigns here and there or getting somebody on the team to create social posts or send a newsletter and keep an eye on things. Another typical situation is maybe there is somebody in house at your company that has some marketing experience that is working on marketing related activities in addition to their full-time job. Needless to say, yes there are many marketing roles, titles and skills that exist to power marketing for companies, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you need every single role to grow your company via marketing or that your current combination is the best way to use marketing to grow. Just as similar to CEOs that know they don’t need to hire every single role for their core operations, a marketing leader can lead, create and direct the marketing strategy as well as manage it with the right marketing team members.

Marketing can be powerful and with the association of marketing aligned to driving revenue makes marketing even more exciting and growth-oriented. But just as powerful as it can be also leads to the chance that marketing might not work and lead to confusing campaigns that don’t produce the results desired and plain out just stressful and worst of all be a waste of money if not doing the right things. One way to help defend against confusion within the marketing function is getting the right marketing leadership in place, clarity around your company’s why, what and how and all while leveraging a proven marketing framework to use marketing in an agile way to focus only on only the marketing campaigns that matter the most and at the right time throughout the year too.

Next and maybe this is obvious, but I think it’s fair to say that if money were not an issue to consider when thinking about marketing leadership or having somebody in charge of marketing then you’d just hire the best. Further, you’d probably find the best performing company within your industry and ask their CMO (chief marketing officer) or head of marketing to come work for you and you’d pay them more to make it worth their while.  If budget wasn’t a concern, then you’d look for a marketing leader that you can hold accountable and trust and know has the experience to drive marketing forward. It’s ironic that for larger successful companies, there are marketing directors or CMOs in place that manage and push the company forward through marketing but for much smaller companies that want to emulate that larger company, they don’t take marketing seriously or being transparent, maybe they just haven’t thought about marketing in a certain way yet to understand how powerful marketing can be. Yes, that’s right that smaller companies that want to grow still might not be using marketing in a systemized way to drive their business forward. 

The next challenge is that even though every company between $1 and $5 million annual revenue might want a marketing leader or CMO, they might  not want to spend the actual CMO typical average salary. According to average CMO salaries in Boston, Massachusetts it was reported that the average annual salary of a CMO was between $342,253 and $481,964 with the average salary being $395,736 per year. And the national average salary of a CMO being $351,234.  So right off the bat, it’s cost prohibitive to bring in a full-time CMO for most companies. The good thing is that hiring a full-time in-house CMO isn’t the only way to solve for marketing leadership. There are fractional CMO services where instead of paying that heavy full-time salary, you can pay for a marketing leader to serve in a fractional way which can be a great solution. 

And further, another option instead of hiring a fractional CMO service by itself that could be disconnected to the tactical team that implements the marketing work is a different hybrid approach called agile marketing.  

Agile marketing is an powerful and flexible but focused way to help companies grow from marketing. Here at GoingClear, it’s one of our specialities and at the core, it’s using strategic & tactical marketing that offers four key components:

  1. Marketing leadership, direction & strategy
  2. An agile marketing approach to serving only the most important marketing campaigns at any given time instead of just putting you in a box to do something that isn’t helping – while serving these campaigns in 90 day cycles
  3. A proven and systemized process to deliver marketing in the clearest way focused on results
  4. And one of the best parts, is that it’s delivered by an in-house and cross-functional team of skilled marketers and related roles that execute on all the deliverables put in place by the approved marketing strategy.

There are several benefits when working within an agile marketing approach as opposed to a full-time CMO hire.

Key benefits of using agile marketing via GoingClear’s G3TM Agile marketing service:

  • You finally get to use marketing in a consistent way focusing only on the most important 2 to 3 marketing campaigns per 90 days (quarter) instead of just staying busy without direction and not knowing what might work. 
  • It’s going to cost literally a fraction of the cost of a full-time hire. Big savings on cost.
  • You don’t have that generally extra 10% expense that comes with having a full-time W2 worker, but instead this is purely a sub-contractor.
  • You don’t have just one view from one person in-house, but instead, you have somebody that might be working with other businesses facing similar challenges so have more knowledge brought into your marketing efforts to solve and grow.
  • You as CEO or other roles that might have been trying to run marketing can now have their time back to grow and lead your company and then marketing can now be pushed by a trusted marketing leader and team.
  • Our agile marketing has systems that are leveraged to create success due to having to be efficient with marketing as a subcontractor and maybe not the luxury of a full-time employee that has unlimited hours to solve in a sense. 
  • You don’t have to hire for 3 to 5 different marketing roles but just on one unified team with marketing leadership and tactical workers. 

If you know marketing is important and just need it solved by a team that has proven systems, in-house and cross-functional team with marketing strategy & leadership along with a tactical team to drive the campaigns, then connect with us at GoingClear to see how we might align and deliver!