This month we kick off a new series, The Sample, where we whirl the dial on the interwebs, hit record and sample what we hear. The topic of this issue is partnerships and we share some of the tunes the cool kids are playing about the critical relationships Rockstar CMOs need to put on the marketing show.


The backing band – your agency

Agencies are the backing band for any successful marketer, the folks who bring that external creative spark, the specialist skills and the color to our campaigns.

In this insightful article on the Adapt blog Lizz Kannenberg gives us the insider’s view, discussing what brands really want from agencies, speaking from both from her decade of experience at agencies and by talking to three leading marketers from ESPN, New Teacher Center and U.S. Cellular. [ Read more ]

“Partnership” is the key word here. Whether it’s between you and the in-house team, or you and other agencies supporting your client, thinking partnership instead of service is the new black.

Front of house – employees

Who has the front row seat at the show that is the mix of your brand, your products and the actual service you provide to customers? It’s your employees, those first line advocates of your brand and the folks that beyond the marketing ivory tower will create a brand impression out in the real world with customers.

As Michael Brenner shares on his rather excellent Marketing Insider Group blog:

 Engaged and activated employees deliver more value both to the company and its customers. Who better to sing the praises of your organization than an employee who truly believes in the value of what you’re trying to achieve?

It’s time to start paying attention to the internal channel. Listen to employee stories, maybe brace yourself for a reality check, but get everyone feeling the words in your lyrics.

Anyway, back to Michael’s article, Why employee engagement matters to marketers – take a look and follow the links to the posts he links to, there’s a lot of good stuff here.

The studio engineers – tech and the CIO

Today it’s clear that a 21st century CMO needs to be proficient on the technical mix desk that is modern marketing automation, but the relationship with the real geeks is essential to deliver the marketing show.

This article on CIO.com by Tim Crawford looks at this from a CIO’s perspective, the key relationships they need to be an agent of transformation in their business and this quote got us nodding along:

…three core objectives for the CIO; Revenue growth, efficiency gains and customer engagement. The CMO is the executive typically responsible for leading customer engagement. Pair that with the fact that marketing cannot be done today without the use of technology and one can quickly see the power of the CMO-CIO relationship.

The merch – the product team

OK, so maybe describing the product we are taking to market as “merch” suggests that the marketing show is the main event, but hey, according to Rolling Stone magazine “merch” is big business. In 2016, sales of music merch hit $3.1 billion and, on the flip side, as we all know, according to Seth Godin “marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell”.

Anyway, I don’t expect many of you are selling music merchandise or telling stories without some stuff being made, so the relationship between marketing and product management is a critical one – and is symbiotic. Marketers can help the product with their knowledge of the what the market wants and of course the subject matter experts in the product team can help marketing fill the gaps in the detail of what keeps the audience rocking.

We turned the interwebs dial all the way down to 2016 for this gem by Ada Chen Rekhi, who takes an in-depth look at the relationship between marketing and the product teams from her view as COO of silicon valley start-up Notejoy:

If a marketer does product research and no one sees it, does it matter? Harshly, no. Is it ideal for a product manager to plan a product without a go-to-market plan to grow it? Not really.

Read more in Building Effective Marketing + Product Partnership


Back in the penthouse, our Rockstar CMOs have plenty to say about the partnerships they depend on to put the show on the road – learn more in this issue.

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