Client Perspective: How Your Agency Should Engage With the CMO

How valuable is it to hear directly from three CMOs to learn how they like to be contacted, what you need to know about them before you do, how to pitch, and how smart you need to be about their business? If that’s of interest, read on.

The current and former CMOs of Wyndam Hotels, Capital One Retail Marketing, and Cablevision sat down at the recent New Business Conference to discuss ad agency new business. They spoke candidly about how to prospect them. Their insights are similar to those expressed by the CMOs of large and small companies alike.

Here’s what they said, written from the perspective of the CMO:

What you need to know about me:

  • Understand my business.
  • Understand my industry.

How to interact with me:

  • Have an idea about how to apply your expertise to my business.
  • Share your insights on my business. Tell me how we’re doing. If you think we’re doing something wrong, tell me so (respectfully).
  • Listen to me as we get to know one another. Respect me. Demonstrate that you were listening.

What you need to recognize about big companies:

  • I’m trying to stay one step ahead of other executives on the senior management team. How can you help me be smarter?
  • I’m the only voice of marketing on the team.
  • The board of directors is interested in ROI. Know how you’re going to drive sales.

How to succeed working with big companies:

  • Educate procurement. Many procurement groups want to reduce the cost of agencies. The more educated they are about agencies, the better decisions they’ll make.
  • When there are product groups in a company, make sure you’re talking to both marketing and the product group(s).

What to remember when you’re going to pitch me and my team:

  • Demonstrate results.
  • Show your emotion and passion.
  • Remember: the agency needs to be smarter than the client – that’s why we’re hiring you.

The best way to get on my radar:

  • Get referred in by someone I know; or,
  • Have something to say that’s really relevant to my business.

This is great stuff. Hope you can put it to good use.


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