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CMO Marketing Plan: The First 100 Days

The first 100 days in the marketing leadership role are going to be when most eyes are on you.

If there is ever a time to get your head down and work all the hours, then it is during these first 100 days.

Sorry, but this is the unpopular reality!

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

The first 100 days as a CMO: a strategic plan

As a CMO, plan how to balance immediate wins vs. laying down the foundations for longer-term growth.

Something that really helped me was having one very clear goal that the CEO and executives gave me: ‘build a repeatable marketing revenue engine’.

1. Identify initial challenges

So I approached it like I would any engine repair job. I needed to work out what parts were working, what wasn’t and what was causing the most damage.

This highlighted a very early issue: the view of the engine was partially blocked by lack of data due to the way things had been assembled.

So operational set-up and reporting was added to my list of ‘jobs to be done’, but it did not block progress.

2. Execute quick wins

When I joined Cognism, Google Ads were shut off and Pardot was a no go zone.

This wasn’t because there was no demand for Cognism to capture via Google Ads, or because there was no use for Pardot, but both had been misused previously and so had been cast aside.

The caution around Google Ads was actually linked directly to both misuse, but also lack of reporting. I identified this as a quick win area for me to be able to clean up, optimise and start to regain trust.

3. Align content strategy with business goals

Focusing just on brand and competitor campaigns, coupled with dedicated landing pages and forms paired with UTM tracking, I was quickly able to get things live and within a few hours we had leads from big brands entering our CRM and correctly being attributed.

I could have spent weeks on a planned restructure of the account, on a roadmap for campaign creation and execution, which I could have proposed be handed off to an agency to execute at vast expense, but instead I focused on launching the low-hanging fruit, building trust early in order to secure buy-in longer term for wider sweeping changes.

4. Prioritize short-term execution

Next up I wanted to get under the hood of the role of content marketing at Cognism. Very quickly it was clear that content was being dictated to marketing via sales, and it was not welded in any wider strategy or planning.

The long-term play here was to build out the plan for content and for delivering a competitive advantage through content for Cognism. However, I wanted to spend more time understanding our customers and diving into the data in order to do a good job here.

So I decided in my first month that I would run a Cognism first, a webinar, using external and internal speakers, and we would use Pardot to run the email campaign side of this.

Queue mass panic!

The last time Pardot had been used for mass emailing, the marketer in charge had managed to kill a number of live opps (according to Sales!) by sending the wrong email to everyone in the CRM.

The win here happened because it was a controlled activity, to a focused list. It also happened through introducing a new content format to the business and showing them the kind of value that marketing can bring to content when given ownership. So much so that after the webinar, the CEO and CRO wanted a plan for a webinar a week!

5. Lay the groundwork for future initiatives

I think the point here that I am trying to make is that in the first 100 days at Cognism, my goal was to build a predictable revenue model. I could have got lost in the building of ‘predictable’, and over-indexed on longer-term strategic planning, but I wanted to show what marketing could do when it was executing, and I wanted to prioritise the low-hanging fruit and the baseline.

This builds credibility early on. It meant that plans I produced after this were trusted.

The reality was that I spent my days executing and ticking off the low-hanging fruit, while my evenings and weekends were dedicated to the longer-term items.

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