15 Ways CEOs Can Effectively Support Their Marketing Teams

by | Jun 23, 2021

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When you are the chief executive of a company, there’s no way to be well-informed on every project and initiative being undertaken by every team in the organization. However, there are some areas where the CEO’s involvement can have an outsized impact and accelerate results. Marketing is one of these areas.

While some company leaders leave marketing, advertising and public relations management up to the “creative” team members, a CEO’s awareness, input and engagement are invaluable elements when it comes to developing a strong, effective marketing strategy. Here, 15 members of Forbes Communications Council examine impactful ways for a CEO to support the efforts of their company’s marketing team.

1. Loop The Team In On All Key Issues

Quickly and consistently ask, “Has marketing been looped in?” Especially in a high-growth, maturing company, this can go a long way in helping a marketing team transition from a “short-order cook” type of fulfillment center to a strategic business partner. None of the programs or ideas really matter until they hit a customer or prospect, and the marketing team owns that delivery and experience. – Jen Gray, Filevine

2. Give Them Your Full Public Backing

Marketing is one of those areas where everyone thinks they can do it. There is a sense that it lacks the complexity and rigor of law or finance. As such, marketing needs the full public backing of the CEO, who must support the marketing team’s direction and decisions and bolster the image of the chief marketing officer as a strategic partner, deserving of respect for their creative and technical expertise. – Kyle Scott, Lone Star College

3. Communicate The Overall Strategy To The Team

It’s important for the CEO to communicate the overall strategy and direction for any given quarter, year, etc. to the marketing team. Close communication helps keep the end goal front and center. It’s also important for the CEO to take a back seat while the marketing team plans the strategy and tactics to reach the collective goal, allowing the “baton to be passed” from team to team. – Ashley Jorgensen, mailing.com

4. Be The Company’s Social Media Megaphone

Every CEO should be highly engaged in the company’s social media activities, sharing messages and connecting with their own network. With the CEO leading the charge, other employees will follow suit, turning the marketing team’s peers and colleagues into the company’s most powerful brand ambassadors. – Ryan George, Docupace

5. Practice Your Media Interview Skills

CEOs who train and practice their media interview skills can have a huge impact for their brands. Never “wing it” during a press interview. Speak in a way that ensures your quotes will make it into the reporter’s article. Tell great stories. Understand that speaking to the media is unlike talking to any other audience. Embrace the process so that you generate a competitive share of voice for your company and products. – Joan P. Hammel, Comcast

6. Align Funding And Resources With Expectations

A big disparity between what a CEO expects and what marketing can deliver is most often the result of inadequate resourcing. If budget is the guiding metric, work with the marketing team to understand the strategies that will deliver the highest return on investment and be willing to do away with programs that don’t support your objectives. – Teri Daley, /grōTH/

7. Live The Brand And Its Promise

Rather than simply focusing on demand generation, living the brand shows employees and external audiences alike that you believe in and value the marketing team. We know that a strong brand heavily contributes to demand generation, so buy-in from the top helps build the brand both inside and outside of your company to get the most out of marketing activities. – Melissa Blanken, Kajeet

8. Be The Face Of Your Company

The CEO can and should be the face of their company. You can serve as an excellent spokesperson for the mission of your brand by penning thought leadership pieces that cement and clarify your organization’s vision for the public and your customers. – Marissa Moran Gantman, Pacific Council on International Policy

. Trust Your Marketing Team’s Decisions

Support the marketing team by trusting their decisions and recommendations and without bringing in outside consultants. Questioning marketing methods or messaging simply because of preference is the quickest way to disengage a creative team. – Brittany White, Apple Growth Partners

10. Invest In The Technology The Team Needs

One of the best ways a CEO can support marketing is to invest in the technology the team needs to drive revenue and move the dial. Marketing is too often viewed by top brass as a creative department, but it needs good technology to identify and reach the company’s audience, deliver its message and measure campaign success. The right technology is essential to achieving optimal growth. – Esther Bonardi, Yardi Systems

11. Know How Generalists And Specialists Differ

Know the difference between a generalist and a specialist, then trust the specialists. Typically, a CEO gets to be a leader by knowing as much about what they don’t know as what they do know. If you can ask intelligent questions and get good answers, from there, you just need to trust that you don’t need to become a marketing expert to have an exceptional marketing team. – Maile Keone, Listen Technologies Corporation

12. Don’t Be Afraid To Fail

A CEO who inspires a culture of openness, learning, problem solving and creativity will see more productivity and better outcomes from marketing professionals. Marketing teams that are set up to find what works will push boundaries, realize performance objectives and gain respect within the organization. – Jessica Gopalakrishnan, Cognigy

13. Leverage Your Own Network

CEOs typically have one of the most powerful networks in the company. Put your own network to work and amplify marketing efforts by becoming an official social media ambassador. Let your marketing team provide social goals to hit and promote the company across your channels. – Lisa Walker, Fuze

14. Empower Your Team Instead Of Second-Guessing

Understand the marketing programs your team is putting in place, address any concerns early on and then empower your team to execute and deliver on the plan they put together. Second-guessing along the way can create trust issues across the team that are difficult to correct down the road. – Jonathan Sasse, Metova

15. Give Marketing A Seat At The Strategy Table

The term “marketing” may evoke different thoughts about what it means. Some organizations may see marketing as the “make it look pretty” team, but it is so much more than that. A CEO who understands this will give the marketing team a seat at the table for strategy conversations and overall growth. Marketing is a major pillar in any growth organization. – Michelle Bank, Nuspire

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