7 Strategic Tips for Startup CMOs to Stay on Top

7 Strategic Tips for Startup CMOs to Stay on Top

7 Strategic Tips for Startup CMOs to Stay on Top


We all are in a race, striving to get ahead of everyone and anyone. Sometimes, we invent new strategies to propel ourselves further, and we mostly rely on proven tactics to improve our scores.

Who Bears the Heaviest Responsibility in Your Startup to Stay on Top?

In this rat race of acquiring growth — Chief Marketers Officers (CMOs) are the ones who bear the most burden, which eventually cascades down the hierarchy. Marketing has never been an easy job, but since the latest startup boom, SEO and Marketing have become even more challenging.

Today, startups are looking for competent individuals for their teams (read rocket ships) to drive growth at insane rates. While this strategy might work out sometimes, it becomes hectic eventually and burns out team members – resulting in unwanted performance lapses.

Retain and Build a Clear Vision in Strategic Planning

To mitigate the threats before the building begins to tremble — CMOs need a clear and focused strategic plan.

Strategic plans differ significantly – depending on the industry, consumer behavior, or nature of the business. Here are 7 strategic tips for contemporary CMOs to stay on top of their game.

1. Synergize your growth strategy

Synergizing your growth strategy is pretty straightforward when the goals are clear, and the pathway is defined. However, this is often not the case. Companies that shout culture at every intersection must learn to ideate better and implement strategies to direct efforts in a uniform direction.

At the end of the day, the task is to drive sustainable growth, ensure customer contentment and allow the champion narrative to reflect on the actions.

Every company asks for new channels to utilize and grow, but many lack alignment – which usually plays a critical role in a company’s success.

Chief Marketing Officers are the bearers of the responsibility of driving growth. They must understand marketing’s contribution from a broader perspective and develop the necessary strategic vision to excel beyond imagination.

Furthermore, aligning your efforts alone won’t cut it. The ability to turn customer insights into valuable products or services is among the top traits of marketers, as per a study; it must be suitably channeled for the utmost benefit. There needs to be proper identification of market gaps which should then be mapped through pertinent insights to make them useful.

2. Strengthen your brand’s image

In the current market, one of many requirements for a brand to take the lead is through its image, vision, and voice. CMOs are responsible for carrying the brand’s vision forward, portraying it to its merit, and ideating to perfection. A brand’s projection is merely not a means to capture eyes but the medium to complement marketing goals with subtlety.

Although it is not feasible to expect growth through brand management – CMOs need to direct energy in the correct direction and work in unison to improve brand awareness, enhance engagement metrics, uplift consumer experience standards and deliver to the actual cause of the brand.

For a brand, you cannot ever say if the efforts suffice. Certain challenges and risks may hinder the seamless process. For that, the brand management team and CMOs must ideate and implement a strategy to categorically inject a series of activities that drive results through set KPIs.

Many early-age brands blunder with their messaging and voice, which, in the long-term, adversely affects them. For that, brands are usually asked to navigate various approaches to understand their audiences and adjust their campaigns accordingly.

3. Adjust to changing consumer demands

Modern brands must be on their toes, ready to accept and adapt to changing consumer demands. Today, consumer behavior is significantly impacted by surrounding events, and to address the shifting behavioral trends – CMOs need to craft flexible procedures that are easy to get in and out of.

One way to cater to the changing needs is by creating audience-centric content that educates and assists the users in becoming customers during the complete customer lifecycle. Though, no matter if the conversion pipeline is inefficient, the customer-focused approach will see you home.

Moreover, conversion chances skyrocket when marketing and sales efforts align and target the right audience simultaneously. The data collected also plays a vital role in identifying the critical pain points and results in more likely outcomes.

Also, strategic planning aids in mitigating potential threats and supplements building processes that are more personalized and make your users feel at ease. In addition, creating promotions at the right time can act as a much-needed catalyst for any CMO.

4. Leverage the latest technology

Where we stand today is all because technology has enabled us to propel ourselves forward and build solutions that provide end-to-end coverage and resolve all the underlying issues. All CMOs should know that without accepting the change and leveraging technological advancement, they won’t stand a chance.

But not only CMOs should be spearheading the initiative. It is the responsibility of the top brass to acknowledge and understand the market needs and map their services and products to ensure customers get the technology-enabled solutions that genuinely add value to their lives.

The role of Chief Marketing Officers has become increasingly complex, so much so that everyone sees marketing as the sole revenue driver – which must enable CMOs to start looking at the factors that might come in handy. When all the technical measures are in place and the systems begin to function together, favorable outcomes usually become a reality.

While it may not be as easy and seamless as it sounds, putting the effort in the right direction through the appropriate technology stack can do wonders.

5. Optimize content strategy

Optimizing a content strategy is of utmost importance in the broader scheme of things, which often gets overshadowed by some other glittery techniques. Optimizing a content strategy is significant for growth metrics. When CMOs work for exponential growth, they must optimize their content production process.

It may involve strategizing and addressing the right audience, keeping a balance between educating and promoting, partnering with other internal and external channels and initiatives to extend the reach, and creating transparent processes to accomplish goals.

At this point, it is noteworthy that in startups, CMOs are the ones that must be leading the content distribution, addressing content gaps, and pouring in to enhance operations. The digital marketing domain relies heavily on content to achieve its targets; hence, it must not be brushed under the carpet.

Startup progress and its positioning is usually an essential factor in driving revenue, and when content portrays a lucrative picture, there is no way it can go wrong. Communicating with key stakeholders and customers sets an initial impression which helps in the long term.

6. Enhance traceability & measurement

CMOs can do everything in the world, launch the fanciest campaigns and fail to leave a mark if they don’t measure their efforts. Today’s marketing is all about data – whether the insights tell you the buying pattern or enrich you regarding the priority shifts – data tells you all.

Cosmetically, numerous tools are available that process data to produce valuable insights and graphs and churn out spectacular numbers. But these will be no good if they don’t see the linkage with marketing or business goals.

Knowing your small steps and planning them strategically and based on data findings can be more helpful than dedicating resources without proper accountability.

CMOs must always be aware of the ground realities so that they can make decisions that are realistic and will drive practical results. Based on what you are trying to achieve, performance parameters or key performance indicators (KPIs) must be established to remain informed.

7. Provide context and make sense

People tend to catch pace with you and align with your vision when they understand what you are trying to achieve. Whatever your plans, keeping your team in the shadows and not providing the complete picture would never help in the long run.

Providing context and going beyond a vague idea regarding a decision will enable others to join you in your journey.

This way, they will realize your expertise by having trust in the leadership and begin to foresee the long-term results and put more diligent efforts into attaining the objectives. It will make sense even if you restructure, define new hierarchies, and build newer roles.

Now when you are working from up above, you cannot always make sense, and not everyone can understand your position. Still, as a Chief Marketing Officer, you must be strategically leading the marketing efforts as well as ensuring that the team is putting in an equal amount of effort to materialize the end goals.


The 21st century has made the Chief Marketing Officer role more demanding and complex. The fierce competition globally has pushed them to be on their toes all the time and execute plans that drive revenue.

CMOs, in most organizations, are involved in strategizing future steps and finalizing goals. In this piece, I have tried to tap the most important factors contributing to a startup’s growth involving CMOs.

These steps will enable Chief Marketers to stay ahead and deliver more than expected. Given the current financial turmoil, pushing boundaries and adapting to efficient practices are all that the startups require.

Featured Image Credit: Mario Gogh; Unsplash; Thank you!

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Abeer Raza

Founding Partner

A Serial Entrepreneur, Author, Growth Hacker, Business Consultant and Keynote Speaker. I’m on a mission to revolutionize the world by helping other entrepreneurs disrupt their domains using emerging technology solutions. I enjoy guiding today’s leaders and revolutionary thinkers by making sure their visions are brought to life in the most effective way possible.