The Small Business of Being CMO


Marketing is still talked about like the sexier, yet moderately off-kilter brother or sister in the family. Many recent graduates, myself included, forge our business acumen through marketing. There are so many like me, just look at Austin. True, marketing professionals have been carried into higher incomes and more limelight due to the tech boom, but they still have to prove their worth every day. Millennials and transitioning creatives who are learning how to market their own talents to businesses are the true professionals.

Those left out are the transitional businesses — startups, growth companies, and small businesses. The rate of learning is slower (due to other obligations) and there may or may not be a dedicated “marketer” in the company. A majority of companies will hire out inexperienced (read:cheap) marketers, consultants (who are in the revolving door business) or try to do it themselves. This creates havoc.

What matters is revenue and results. Who is to say what is successful and what is a failure? Who determines the process and implementation? Who cares if there are 3,000 hits per month to your site if only 2% are converting and 69% are bouncing? Marketing is all about efficiency. To stay seated at the C-suite table and contribute our methodology and work now have quantitative progress attached like everyone else. The field and companies we work for are better for it.

That is where the real answer lies: Conversions. Many marketers vie for people’s attention against the rest of the noise. That is why content marketing has become such a big industry. However, looking at vanity metrics has already started to wane because people understand it is contradictory to useful metrics. Or are they? It’s the fundamental sales funnel. You can convert target demographics to actual buyers but you can also target new demographics to convert to your audience.

In order to show true prowess and results in today’s marketing landscape one must being able to create stories and then crush competition with data.

Here are the things to remember:

-Learn the fundamentals by heart and keep up with the trends.

This sounds like a lot because it is. Fortunately information is easily accessible now, as well as the people who are shaping the landscape. To learn about marketing I originally talked with every freelancer in a specific niche. Once I knew my way around the jargon and the general ideas I moved up to business owners and CMOs.


- Marketing is a tailor-made suit/dress.

The general pattern is there, but the dimensions, and material is always different. People notice the appearance first. Your marketing plan must be appropriate for your setting. You have to make the initial measurements and sketch the design before making the outfit.


Published in Medium.