In a B2B environment that is becoming increasingly competitive, there is growing interest in what actually drives business performance.
I was recently presented with some research by Professor Moira Clark of the Henley Centre for Customer Management, which concluded that making it easier for customers to do business is a sure-fire way of improving the bottom line. This takes the notion of customer experience one step further, and she claims that more companies are beginning to bring this line of thought into their strategic planning.
Essentially, it’s about having a customer-centric approach, and the research suggests that customer centricity in B2B drives business performance. The great challenge facing B2B companies, however, is how to change the business to become more customer-centric. For many, it may seem an unrealistic task. Continue reading
When the CEO of all too many B2B companies sits down to decide on the three- or five-year strategy, a select group of executives are typically asked to front up with factual data and strategic opinions: The Chief Financial Officer, the Chief Commercial Officer and the Chief Operations Officer. Equipped with their inputs, the CEO usually feels he or she has enough information to formulate the strategy (perhaps supplemented with external advice). Then, and only then, the strategy is explained to the CMO. Continue reading
1500 hours of after-hours work. That’s what it took to complete my MBA. The only thing remaining now is graduation and the party! As valuable as the actual studies have been, in many ways, it’s all about the party. But more about that later.
Now all that hard work is over, I want to reflect on the journey. Why did I do it? Do those reasons hold up three years later? It’s probably too early to tell, but let me look into the crystal ball and see what the future may hold.
For others considering an MBA, this may help put some decision-making criteria into perspective. This is by no means a definitive list of what to think of if you’re considering an MBA when you’re well into your career. But I hope it does give some ideas to help make up your mind. Continue reading
In a previous post, I introduced several characteristics that define a Marketer CEO, as revealed in my study of marketing’s contribution to B2B company performance.
Continuing the discussion, I’ll explore more of these characteristics within themes of marketing performance and market strategy.
With so much discussion among marketers about marketing metrics, you may expect this to be top of mind with CEOs, too. Marketer CEOs do have strong expectations of how marketing should perform, but perhaps not in the way you’d expect. Continue reading
My recent study of B2B CEOs revealed three types of CEO, each determined by their orientation towards marketing. One of these types, the ‘Marketer CEO’, believes strongly in the strategic impact of marketing.
For B2B marketers, understanding the views of these CEOs can provide vital direction that will better equip them to meet the CEO’s expectations and contribute most value to the business.
In the study, Marketer CEOs were identified by their own admission of their belief in marketing. Each of these CEOs was then analysed according to a number of parameters describing his or her impressions of the company’s capabilities and priorities. Continue reading
The role of marketing in B2B companies is often debated. For every story of marketing’s contribution to growth, there are probably another two or three of marketing fighting tooth and nail for budget, resources and, not least, mindshare from the B2B CEO.
After years of being part of this debate, I decided to find out what the B2B CEO and executive management really think about marketing. Over the last several months, I’ve conducted extensive research into understanding their opinions.
There is a growing amount of research into marketing’s contribution to performance at B2B companies. But while the academic research is fragmented, really only touching the surface, the practitioner research often seems to be a celebration of marketing and, indeed, quite removed from reality.
Like it or not, reality is the CEO. No matter how good the B2B marketing department thinks it is, it won’t get far without his or her blessing. Continue reading
Key to any CEO’s agenda is the need to constantly reconfigure the company’s capabilities to cope with a changing playing field and to lend extra strength to crucial functions within its business model and value chain. Continue reading
“Don’t rock the boat” seems to be an unshakeable rule in many B2B companies. Strangely enough, companies who adhere to the status quo are often the ones to be left behind when the boat is rocking at industry level. Ask Nokia or Sony Ericsson, for example, why Apple was able to not just rock but almost overturn their boats… Continue reading
When push comes to shove, it’s hard to find a CEO of a B2B company who sees marketing as the go-to function for business performance. Marketers are constantly challenged by their executive management to demonstrate the effectiveness of their efforts.
Does that mean the CMO role at B2B companies is redundant? And what can marketing do to move itself from a support function into the company’s upper echelons? Continue reading
There’s nothing like being forced out of your comfort zone to give you new ideas and inspiration. And what better way than rapid immersion in not just another business environment, but another culture?
This was the opportunity I was given on a recent visit to South Africa together with a group of business leaders from Denmark. Just a few hours after stepping off the long flight from Europe, we were released into Durban’s Central Business District. It’s a far cry from the sterile, grayscale business district of a northern European city. Colors and sounds line the pavements. People swarm over intersections, dodging the taxi vans, busses and occasional car. It’s an eclectic mix of cultures where urban dwellers dominate, but there are still plenty of people with obviously strong tribal roots.
For the next few hours, we explored the district, interacting with people to learn about their businesses and lives as best we could, sometimes in English, sometimes through an interpreter, and almost always with wild hand gestures. Continue reading