CMOx Principles of Marketing


Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.

Peter Drucker, father of business consulting

The typical business executive has a dozen or more things to focus on: innovation, culture, hiring, profitability, market trends, emerging tech, sales, marketing… the list goes on.

When it comes to marketing, executives need clear principles to guide their decision-making process. Most executives make marketing decisions based on anecdotes, stories, copying what competitors are doing, or simply running with an exciting idea. This process is wrought with pitfalls, as most businesses lack the principles required for successful marketing.

We’re founded on 6 guiding principles for marketing. These principles provide direction and context to campaigns, giving our clients the best chances of success. Those principles are as follows:

1. Start with the End in Mind

It is typically fruitless to start any marketing discussion without first defining what the end result must be. When you drive your car, do you aimlessly hope you arrive at a destination, or do you choose the destination and set your GPS to get you there?

If you’re considering running a promotion on Google Ads, how many sales, inquiries or demos do you need to generate in order for the campaign to be successful? Further, is that success likely?

It is better to be conservative with marketing campaign success criteria. Perhaps you say “If we can get three demos booked from this promotion in the next 2 weeks, then we can spend more time and money on expanding the reach and customer experience.” That’s starting with the end in mind.

The opposite is the marketer who launches a campaign because they feel like they should be running Facebook ads, or they should have an active Twitter feed. This leads into the next principle…

2. Do fewer things, but do them well

A company that has successful, accountable, profitable marketing isn’t doing everything. They’re doing a few things, but they’ve doubled down on them to the point of mastery. You’re better off running a single direct mail campaign that predictably brings in new customers and profit than you are to ensure you’re checking all the boxes of potential marketing campaigns.

Should you be prospecting on LinkedIn, running an SEO campaign or spending tens of thousands of dollars a month on paid ads? I wager to bet that you’ll have more success if you pick one of those tactics and master it. Then, when the time is right, move onto the next tactic.

Focusing the finite marketing dollars and human hours on fewer projects means standing a chance to outpace your competition.

3. Track everything

In order to know how to replicate positive results, you need to have breadcrumbs to tell you where leads, accounts, closed-won opportunities and sales come from.

By tagging all your traffic sources uniquely, you’ll be able to record how your suspects, prospects and customers interact on your website, with your emails, ads and offers. Then, through reporting, you can close the loop and understand the entire customer journey.

What you’ll find is that your best customers tend to have something in common. Did they read an article you published, then quickly request a demo? Did they see your Instagram ad, then go to your blog, finally to reach out through the webform?

Knowing which ad creative, individual email, keynote, workshop or podcast they consumed before becoming a customer means you can focus your efforts on the campaigns that actually drive results.

4. Long-term relationships over short-term profits

When running promotions, it’s easy to double-down on scarcity and overly emotional language, which tends to get a few extra people to purchase while leaving a bad taste in nearly everyone else’s mouth. Yes, scarcity and great copy works, but maximizing short-term profits is a sure-fire way to burn your audience and create an uphill battle for years to come.

To demonstrate that you value long-term relationships, you need to share important information, including opportunities to purchase your goods and services, at regular intervals. But to stand out today, you need to micro-target those messages. Be helpful and clear. Solve a real problem people have and they’ll either buy immediatley, or they’ll think about you when their problem becomes so painful that they have to make a decision.

Remember: Your end-of-month sales quota isn’t your prospects problem.

If your sales are low, there are things you can do today to drive more revenue. But the best predictor of your sales today is the marketing you ran 90 days ago.

5. Take intelligent risks

The salesperson’s adage is “Always Be Closing.” The marketer says “Always Be Testing.”

In today’s digital marketing landscape, your company can test a dozen email subject lines a week with ease, finding the best performing line. A savvy team can also run mulit-variate split tests on webpages to increase the conversion rate.

Take this mentality of Always Be Testing into your campaign ideation as well. In order to outpace your competition, you may need to innovate your marketing and reach an audience that you aren’t currently serving. As new tech and social channels open, you may find it advantageous to test new ways to get your message in front of prospects.

But do this intelligently and minimize your risk.

It’s not necessary to spend tens of thousands of dollars to test a new platform, ad type, or mailing list. Simply start with a small audience, limited resources and test. Every company should be running at least two split tests at a time, be it on email subject lines, body copy, images on ads, price, bonuses, scarcity, etc.

6. Maximize Value from your Assets

Instead of writing another book, instead of abandoning your current marketing campaigns and funnels, first you should assess if you’ve maximized the value you can get out of what you have.

To all the authors who have a stack of books they wrote but no fan base, it would be wiser to increase your audience reach before you launch your next book into the void. Similarly, you likely don’t need a new website for your business.

Instead of thinking a new thing will solve the problem, look back at what you have with a creative lens and see how it can be repurposed. The development cost is already sunk, so you’ll have a higher ROI on a campaign if you use pre-existing assets.

Is your company principled?

Probably not. But you’re in good company.

Your competitors might move faster than you, are better capitalized or have better brand recognition.

If you focus on these principles and change the way you look at marketing, your actions will align with Drucker’s above statement.