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The Top 7 Questions CEOs Ask About Marketing

In our conversations with CEOs of B2B businesses, we learn a lot about their growth goals and opportunities, what keeps them up at night, and what gets them excited about the future.

We also learn what these founders and CEOs are curious to know when it comes to marketing.

If you head up a B2B company and you’re looking to engage in modern marketing to drive growth, you probably have questions like the ones we typically hear.

So, let’s dive in to the top 7 questions CEOs ask us about marketing.   

1. How long will it take until we see results from our marketing?

Leaders don’t make it to the C-suite by being patient. But if you’re just getting started with modern marketing, it’s helpful to understand what affects your timeline to results.

Before you can drive marketing ROI you need the right foundational elements, and that starts with an effective website. With much of the B2B buying journey happening online now, your website has become your best sales tool. It’s where buyers land when they Google you or click on a link in a campaign. If your website doesn’t position your company and your brand in a clear, compelling, relevant way, those leads aren’t likely to convert to sales.

Then there are external factors, like your competitive landscape. If you operate in a highly competitive market and your services are tough to differentiate, it may take longer to see results. (After all, the more competitors, the more likely they’re engaging in marketing too.)

All that said, we tell CEOs it typically takes six months to a year to see real momentum and a steady stream of leads that convert to sales. (As with all things in life, there are no shortcuts to great results.) In the meantime, we find ways to score quick wins.

2. Can we start with something small, like an e-blast?

Those one-off campaigns are what we call random acts of marketing. And they rarely work, because they’re typically not grounded in strategy and not supported by the right foundational elements. (See point 1!)  

Engaging in one-off outreach tends to yield unqualified leads—people who may have responded to your one-off email but aren’t really interested in your product at this time.

The real magic of marketing happens when you move a buyer to action through a series of messages and touchpoints. Let’s say they get an email blast, see your latest news posted on LinkedIn, and read your insightful blog. Then they request a demo. What one thing put that buyer over the edge and spurred them to action? It’s not always easy to tell.  

Marketing isn’t a single magic bullet. It’s not a brochure or an e-blast. Marketing is a function that’s ongoing, rooted in research, designed around your goals, and guided by strategy. When you approach marketing strategically and consistently, that’s when you score big wins. 

3. How much of my time will this take?

Some CEOs worry that growth marketing will require a lot of their time and attention. Maybe they’ve had a bad experience: They hired an in-house marketing generalist without the expertise to develop a research-based marketing strategy. Or they teamed up with a marketing firm that wasn’t up to the task.

Whatever the reason, CEOs may fear modern marketing will become a drain. We prefer to leverage the C-suite’s time upfront to understand their vision, goals, and plans—but we don’t drag them into the weeds. We find that’s the best way to maximize their contribution and help them avoid the temptation to dictate a discipline that may not be their expertise.    

4. How will we know our marketing is working?

A good strategic marketing plan doesn’t just outline what to do; it defines how you’ll measure success.  

For example, if you’re looking to generate demand you need Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)—buyers that are ready to be contacted by sales and in good position to buy. But even before your leads reach that stage, there will be other indicators that your marketing is working.

Your strategic marketing plan should define key performance indicators (KPIs) you can track, like organic traffic to your website or Marketing Qualified Leads (buyers that have expressed interest by taking an action). When your early efforts achieve KPIs like these, you know you’re on the right track.

5. How can you understand our company/product/service enough to do our marketing?

This is one is a little dicey to answer, but here goes:

Industry-specific experience is a nice-to-have in marketing. But if you hire smart, experienced, strategic marketers, there isn’t a company, product, or service they can’t get to know in depth.

“But our offering is highly technical and complex,” you might say. Or, “You don’t know our competitors.”

That’s what the due diligence process is all about. When firms like Marketri conduct due diligence for new clients, we dig deep: learning about your goals and priorities, conducting SWOT and competitor analyses, reviewing industry trends, understanding your target market and buyer personas, and interviewing customers to hear firsthand why they work with you.

While it might not be critical that your marketing partner has worked with companies just like yours, it IS important that your partner plays to its strengths. At Marketri, we’re a group of B2B experts with in-depth experience marketing complex services that have a long sales cycle. That’s where we really shine, so that’s where we tend to focus.   

Bottom line: We believe it’s more important to hire a marketing firm with a proven approach, innovative ideas, and a track record of strong results than to rigidly require that they’ve worked with companies that look exactly like yours.

6. How much does marketing consulting cost?

It depends.

Lots of factors play into how much you should spend on marketing, because it isn’t a commodity you can buy off the shelf. Effective marketing is based entirely around YOU: your product, buyers, competitive landscape, strengths, weaknesses, sales cycle, and goals. If a marketing firm quotes you canned pricing, it means you’re getting a canned approach that won’t move the needle on growing revenue.

More than anything, the right marketing spend depends on what you expect to achieve and over what timeframe. Generally, the smaller your marketing investment the longer it will take to realize a return. On the other hand, when you get the flywheel effect that comes from aligning your goals, expectations, and budget, that’s when your ROI climbs.

Patience pays off too! If you have the patience to grow leads and revenue organically, you’ll spend less to achieve your goals than you would with techniques like paid search marketing, because you’ll attract higher-quality leads that are much more likely to convert to sales.

7. Why should I partner with Marketri?

That’s an easy one to answer: Because we get results.

How?

  • By combining the three elements that effective growth marketing demands: strategy, execution, and analytics
  • By developing a research-based strategic marketing plan designed to drive aggressive growth
  • And by integrating technology, talent, and processes to empower the kind of growth you can’t achieve without modern marketing   

Schedule an intro call with our CEO Deb Andrews to delve into the questions on YOUR mind and to find out how Marketri’s proven approach can fuel your growth.  

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To hear more from CEO Deb Andrews, register for our webinar , “The Five Step Journey to Profit Center Marketing,” on June 22, 2022, at 1 p.m. EDT. To learn more or register for this free webinar, visit The Five Step Journey to Profit Center Marketing | Marketri.

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