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CMO's Must Go Digital CMO's Must Go Digital

Companies that have successfully relied on traditional marketing channels are scrambling to find talent who can help them into digital marketing channels. Getting to right talent with digital experience into your organization will get more customers.

The most frequent call we have been getting this year is "How quickly can you get us a digital marketing executive?" With at least 56% of US citizens carrying a smart phone in their pocket and referring to it constantly for news, entertainment, information and purchasing decisions, the rush is on to find ways to reach them digitally.  This is especially true for the difficult to reach the 80mm strong ‘millennial’ generation, ages 17-34.   There is a huge awakening of companies that are realizing they do not have a direct relationship with their customer and want to find ways to build one.  Gartner says CMO’s will spend more on technology in the next five years than CTO’s as they seek to build direct relationships with their customers.  IBM says “digitally enfranchised and empowered customers lead the agenda” among c-suite executives in 2014.         

Bringing the right talent to your organization is a critical component of a concerted digital marketing effort.  There are four approaches:

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1) Hire a new digitally savvy CMO. There are many CMO’s with a full suite of traditional and digital experience.  They saw the future ten years ago and embraced digital marketing fully either by pushing their own organization or by moving to a digitally driven business.  They are fully capable leaders who can set strategy, manage a brand, acquire customers, generate leads and develop audiences through traditional and digital channels. They can develop a team and communicate with all constituents from customers to investors and board members.  

2) Hire a SVP/VP of digital marketing.  A strong direct report focused on digital marketing can have a huge impact and support the current CMO.  These executives can handle 100% of the digital marketing responsibilities including setting strategy and managing teams.  They understand and can coordinate with traditional marketing efforts and can step into existing corporate marketing strategy and make it work in the digital markets.   

3) Hire a Director with 5-10 years of experience.  There is a rapidly growing pool of talented young executives who can pursue digital marketing channels.  Many of these young professionals have done nothing else.  The objective is to find candidates who have worked for a relevant company in a relevant industry and can rapidly blend into the team.

4) Hire a digitally savvy Associate with 1-3 years of experience.  This approach will get the project started and is a low cost entry.  It allows you to experiment with some channels, test some ideas and see whether you get results and can justify investing further.  This effort should be supervised closely.

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Ted Pryor
Ted Pryor
Ted Pryor is a Managing Director with Greenwich Harbor Partners and focuses on senior level executive recruiting in Media, Technology and Business Services including general management, sales, marketing and customer service. He has over ten years of experience as a senior executive at GE Capital and over 20 years of experience in corporate finance. Prior to executive recruiting, he served as CFO and CEO of a venture backed start-up company.

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