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Diary of a first-time CMO - Becoming a subject matter expert

Hey B2B marketers

Here it is. Four years, $50m+ ARR and 200 pages later… My journey as a first-time CMO.

Covering the key learnings I've gathered in four years of leadership. This diary reveals the lessons that helped me scale Cognism from $3m to $50m ARR, build a team from 3 to 39, and transform our set-up from a classic lead gen function to a demand gen engine.

It’s my handbook for B2B marketers looking to thrive in leadership.

(especially if you’re as daunted as I was when I started out!) 

Diary of a first-time CMO by Alice De Courcy
By: Alice de Courcy
1 minute read

Becoming a subject matter expert

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You may have noticed I’ve started filming a lot more videos and using the content for my LinkedIn posts.

I realised there was an added benefit from turning myself into a subject matter expert for our marketing audience, and I could repurpose the video I was making.

That’s advice I’d give anyone in my position, don’t be afraid to use content more than once.

Many people won’t see it the first time - and assuming it still holds true and is valuable, re-using that content is making it work harder for you. It also increases the chances of it being consumed by more of your target audience.

I was already filming video as part of my subject matter expert work within the Cognism media machine - a key part of our create demand strategy.

So because I could repurpose this video, it wasn’t any more effort for me versus my written posts.

It actually made posting much easier as I had a springboard for post ideas. No more starting with a blank piece of paper.

I could pick parts of conversations I had already had in webinars that I knew had been of interest to the live attendees and build on these.

I didn’t notice any crazy changes in engagement on LinkedIn but I know myself as a user on LinkedIn that it just diversifies how people can consume the content.

Many people will watch a video and not comment or like. And by supporting a text post with video, I was able to get more people to consume the content which is exactly what we are after at the end of the day.

Touching back on the post above itself, I wanted to go into more detail on what I mean by the 80/20 rule.

Marketing, arguably more than any other department, needs some strict guardrails when it comes to how it supports the rest of the organisation. In addition, guardrails are helpful for how marketing prioritises its own work.

You could spend 100% of your time on ‘busy work’ that won’t actually move the needle in terms of achieving your core business goals or driving B2B marketing revenue.

When I joined Cognism, marketing was 100% ‘busy work’ and sales enablement. It was not proactive in any way. Ultimately this led to unpredictable and limited revenue contributions and effectiveness.

In order to create real impact and change, you need to show leadership and executives a roadmap for hitting the business objectives and get this signed off upfront.

This then becomes your key mechanism for pushing back on tasks that don’t impact directly on your end goal.

You should still leave yourself and your team with some capacity around 20%. That can be used for unplanned but critical items that will inevitably crop up.

I also find that working in bi-weekly sprints helps to keep focus. It ensures that the majority of your team's time and effort is going into the activities and initiatives that will truly make an impact on your agreed business objectives.

As your org grows you may find it harder to minimise the distractions from outside of marketing, but coming together for these bi-weekly sprints will provide visibility and enable the correct re-prioritisation and focus.

Want to keep up with Alice's latest CMO advice?

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