Kadi Srinivasan describes herself as a reluctant marketer. She started her career as an engineer, but eventually found her way into marketing, as many of us do. At first, it was focused on performance, but over time I’ve learned more and more about brand value and customer marketing, especially when you’re growing—and growing Fast.
As Head of Marketing at CLIVIO, discusses her experience growing a small new marketing team into an organized, self-sufficient team while the company was experiencing hyper-growth on every level. She detailed her six steps to managing successful large-scale marketing.
As a commercial marketing manager, you need to understand the company’s founding story and principles to shape the story you bring to the market. To do so requires a deep understanding and appreciation of the company’s mission, vision, product strategy, financial plan, and more—all of which you get from communicating with the CEO.
If you have a founder with a big vision, they’ve been thinking for 20 years with a big, far-reaching goal. The chief marketing officer’s job is to reduce them to one- and five-year plans. Reduce it to what we can do now, tomorrow, and a few years from now.
Your job is to communicate the CEO’s vision. The way I achieve this is through the occasional organized and ad hoc one-on-one meetings. During our weekly one-on-one meetings, we discuss business updates and what marketing is doing.
Our custom and blended sessions are infrequent, but when we have them, they are two to three hours in length and we discuss anything that comes to mind or is relevant, such as how we think about a particular category or the potential impact of something we have on our business.
Maintaining this open line of communication between you and your CEO on all topics is fundamental to successful alignment.
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From the start, define a clear mission and vision for the team, and build a talent-intensive organization to support this.
My first five Klayvio employees were the heads of Branding, Performance, Product Marketing, Self-Service, Analytics and Research. These strategic functions were able to build an operational guide and recruit the actors beneath them to make the right moves.
No matter what, make sure the team you’re building is comfortable and works well together. The specific product and industry you can teach — team skills and an active attitude is much more difficult.
Personally, I’ve always preferred a high IQ over a high IQ because that’s what makes teams strong.
Even in product-led companies, you have to do the work to understand the market, your customers, their situations, and the buyer’s journeys. Most importantly, you need to understand non-clients and opponents. Why don’t they care about your product? Is there anything you can do about it? You won’t be able to detect this without keeping your ear to the ground.
Work with other customer-facing teams to create those rich ideas that can benefit your entire organization and customer base.
If I really need to understand the aspirations of customers and know how to deal with them emotionally, I need to understand the brand. That’s when I understood the power of branding and storytelling.
Remember: the people Not Listening to you is just as important as people.
As a marketing manager, you will need to plan for the big campaigns, deals, and things that move the market.
But don’t forget to balance that out by being constantly floundering and experimental. Aim for at least one opportunity for drooping fruit per month, and use those opportunities to create a sense of urgency in the marketplace.
You need to focus on learning, iterating, and building your team’s trust to make an impact with the big things consistently.
When working on your marketing guide, focus on the big three: volume, scope, and quality of experiences. Create a stacked experience culture that supports your entire team.
The temptation can be just too great to re-use the playbook that worked flawlessly for you at another company. I dare you to resist this urge. Your playbook may have worked for you, but what goes well in one company falls apart in another. Take advantage of your experience selectively and remember that all new category-busting businesses will need marketing innovation and agility.
Success is nothing more than a few simple habits practiced regularly.
As a marketing manager, everything comes faster than you might expect. You’re configuring and benchmarking, actually performing and excelling, and doing all of this at the same time, over and over again.
Don’t forget to take your foot off the pedal every now and then. Take care of the health and well-being of your team and do not overburden them. Compassion and accountability can Go together in a super-growing successful marketing team. It’s okay to take a break, it’s okay to fail, and it’s okay to change your goals and vision halfway – you’ll get there together!
It’s all an adventure the team works on together. Keep your goals tight but your path is light. The path will always change. As long as you hold your goals close to your heart, it doesn’t matter which path you take – you will reach those goals.
Posted on February 4, 2022