The Bigger Picture: How to Market to CMOs

October 11, 2019 | 3 minute read
Michael McNichols
Senior Content Manager
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Marketing to a CMO is different than to a practitioner. A practitioner is down in the weeds, running marketing programs. They care more about what software and tools they use, as they have a direct impact on their day-to-day work. They can get more detail oriented about getting things done.

What then does a CMO care about?

Both the CMO and a marketing practitioner care about results. However, as befitting their position, a CMO looks more at the bigger picture.

The Bigger Picture

What does the bigger picture for a CMO entail?

  • Revenue/ROI

Many CMOs worry about how long their tenure will be and the overall success of their marketing programs. The best way to show success is through the numbers. More and more in today’s marketing world, marketing results are being tied to ROI. CMOs have to be able to show how marketing is affecting revenue. With the right numbers, a CMO can feel more comfortable in their position and know that their marketing strategy is garnering results.

  • Costs

How much does everything cost? Is your marketing program wasting money? Where to invest and where to cut? It’s the CMO’s call.

  • Marketing Strategy

You probably can’t get more big picture than talking about marketing strategy. Who are you targeting and how do you reach them? What is your purpose and what differentiates your brand and products and services from your competitors? What story is your brand telling? Also, consider your metrics. What are they telling you? What do you need to tweak and change? What calls for a new approach? A CMO understands all of this well and sets the pace for the rest of their team.

  • Management/Culture

CMOs have the responsibility of putting together a team that can execute a marketing strategy. They empower and enable their team to get the job done by ensuring they have the tools that they prefer, are comfortable with, and work well. They foster a culture of collaboration, communication, and trust. If their team has an idea, a CMO is willing to hear it out. If the team has a marketing tool in mind they think will help them work more efficiently, a CMO will consider it. The CMO gets everyone aligned and working with the same vision toward the same goals.

What Interests a CMO?

With that broad overview of what concerns a CMO, what topics would interest a CMO when you are marketing to them? What topics do you talk about that might catch their attention?

Here are a few bigger picture topics you could try:

  • How to tie marketing results to revenue

  • How to prolong a CMO’s tenure

  • How to not waste valuable marketing dollars

  • Creating, improving, and executing a marketing strategy

  • The importance of metrics and data

  • Change management, leadership, and how to foster a strong working culture and team environment

  • Improving internal team communication

  • Making internal communication materials more appealing and engaging and more similar to external communications or marketing materials

CMOs are also interested in what their peers, competitors, and fellow CMOS are doing and what insights they can provide about any lessons they have learned. You should also keep an eye on what trends are shaping the future of marketing, as a successful CMO needs to stay current with how the field is changing.

Important topics for FY20 (and even beyond that) include:

  • AI/machine learning and what other technologies are changing the game for digital marketers and how you need to keep up or be left behind

  • How the experience economy is reshaping the customer experience, with customers being in the driver’s seat and expecting a consistent, compelling experience across multiple channels

  • How to go more granular with data and create a better unified record and customer profile

  • How ABM is changing how to personalize marketing

  • Influencer marketing and how they can make a difference in your social media marketing, blog, reach, audience, reputation, and more.

Marketing to a CMO means not just showing how you can change the day-to-day work of marketing but make an impact on the bigger picture and make a CMO’s vision and team stronger.


CMOs might need time to show that their vision and strategy are working. How then can they prolong their tenure long enough to show that they are getting results? Find out by reading “4 Ways CMOs can Prolong Their Tenure.”

Have a look.






Michael McNichols

Senior Content Manager

Michael McNichols is a Senior Content Manager for Oracle Digital Marketing. He has over ten years of experience in professional writing and has been widely published.

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