CEOs Discuss: Marketing as a Key Revenue Driver

12 Apr 24

Marketing often struggles to show its contribution to revenue. How can leaders transform marketing from a cost-center to a key revenue driver?

Marketing is an integral part of any successful go-to-market model, yet they are typically the most misunderstood, with many relegating them to the role of cost-center. What roles do they play in a B2B environment, and how can leaders transform marketing into a key revenue driver for their organization?

In this episode of the GTM Value Creation Corner, join Mike Hoffman, SBI CEO, and Jeff Pedowitz, CEO and President of The Pedowitz Group, as they explore the role of marketing in driving revenue and what leaders can do to get there.

Transforming Marketing into a Key Revenue Driver

Despite significant investments into marketing tech, CMOs frequently struggle to get their voices heard at the decision table. Often, other key leaders may not see marketing’s contribution to revenue, since it is sales that wins the deals. As Jeff puts it:

“The sad truth of it is that a lot of marketing departments are still run as cost centers, still seen as arts and crafts. And over the years, marketing started managing more technology budget than IT and many organizations.”

“Yet here we are in ‘23 getting ready to go into 2024, and many marketing departments still cannot show how they're generating revenue and getting a positive ROI,” he added.

From a leadership standpoint, Jeff believes that leaders are often less concerned with what marketing is doing, rather they want to know how every dollar invested can contribute to a specific amount of revenue. By focusing on creating a positive ROI, CMOs would have more weight in the decision-making of the company.

So if you’re a marketing leader who’s still seen as a cost-center, how can you flip the script? Jeff has a few suggestions:

“I'd start by partnering with sales, understand what my sales goals are for the coming year, the quarter, and sign up for the same number and show the COO and CFO that you're willing to drive towards that number and be measured by that outcome,” he proposed.

While he understands that marketing may have clear goals set out, businesses fundamentally run on revenue and profit growth. Hence, he suggests that leaders take some time to realign their yearly goals around revenue growth as the key driver.

“And if you can't find a way to support it with the things that you're doing, my recommendation would be to deprioritize that because until you build up the credibility that you can actually support revenue, you're going to have a hard time getting that mindshare, the traction, the budget, and the allocations in order to do all the things that you want to do,” Jeff added.

Yet, Jeff acknowledges that marketing often has many parts to play in the revenue engine. From building the brand to enriching customer experiences, it might seem more beneficial to marketing if they dedicated their focus into one aspect. But Mike cautions against shifting focus away from revenue. Fundamentally, leaders should place growth at the forefront of every campaign they execute:

“I don't think even any CEO would disagree that we want to make sure that our customers are having a good experience. But the goal has to be: how do we grow? That is our charter,” Mike concluded.

Tune into the rest of the conversation in the GTM Value Creation Corner Podcast here: Episode 12: Marketing as a Key Revenue Driver.


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