Own The Market, Not Just The Marketing: What CMOs Talked About Last Week


By Matt Heinz, President & Founder of Heinz Marketing

There’s an enormous difference between merely running the marketing at your organization and having responsibility for the addressable market.  One is tactical, the other – well, it drives the company’s direction, product strategy and future success.

Like I said, quite a difference.

And although historically the head of marketing has been called the Chief Marketing Officers in most B2B organizations, there’s a growing shift to keeping the acronym (CMO) and redefining it as the Chief Market Officer.

“There are three horsemen that drive the health, direction and success of most organizations – product, sales and market,” according to Kate Bullis at last week’s CMO Coffee Talks session.

“These roles answer, address and drive three critical questions – What is our market?  What will we sell to that market? And how will we sell it?”

Historically, product marketing has defined road map and opportunity.  What may have started with a founder’s vision and original product plan too often is now a mid-manager role and relegated to the technology or even IT department.  Sometimes it rolls up to finance as well.

The rare organization sees market definition as a key role of marketing, rarer still today for a chief marketing officer to embrace and claim it.

That may be changing.

And if the market isn’t owned by marketing today, pick it up and own it.  Be proactive, go on offense, seize the opportunity if it’s not being managed effectively (or at all) where you work today.

Fundamental to owning the market vision is answering three questions:

  1. How you show up
  2. Who you address
  3. Why

The chief customer officer role and responsibility is often too narrow as it only looks after current customers and focuses on retention, vs looking at what the broader market needs.  And growth is bigger than sales.  Having a separate function that establishes, owns and pivots to the market opportunity is critical for success (especially in volatile markets like these).

So how do you get started?

Define the market – strategically.  If you’re in health care, for example, your addressable market is a segment of the health care industry.  What is that?  How do you define it?

Then, what do those customers need?  Create and continually execute on external insight gathering via interviews, customer briefings as well as a more robust analyst relations program.

Define and implement a business intelligence team to give you better external market insights (vs your current marketing operations team which is internally focused).

Ensure your internal leadership team updates and especially your board decks begin with an assessment and/or update on market conditions, size, maturation and opportunity.

In other words, reinforce you’re basing your strategy and execution on how well you understand and interpret the market.

Market vs marketing.  Both critical, but in that order.

If you’re a marketing leader in your organization I’d like to invite you to our CMO Coffee Talk series, presented by 6sense and Heinz Marketing.  It’s an informal but highly engaging drop-in interactive Zoom meeting Fridays at 8:00 am Eastern and another at 8:00 am Pacific.

Think of it as coffee with CMOs – you can participate actively or simply watch and read what others are thinking.  Get registered with a hands-free calendar invite here.