In the past, most CEOs had a background in finance — but the whe
Every big company should have a CMO and an in-house marketing team, no question about it.
But when the CEOs understand the role and essence of marketing, or when they’re marketing smart themselves — that’s when the magic happens.
Profits skyrocket, novel ideas come to life, and CEOs step out of the shadows and make their businesses seem more human.
That’s because a CEO has more power and resources than a CMO or any other marketing official could ever have.
If you’re a CEO, it’s time you understand marketing is your responsibility too.
I’ll show you five CEOs who realized this simple truth early on and acted on it to get outstanding results.
We’ll analyze their power marketing moves and extract lessons you can apply to your business, regardless of your niche.
1. Mark Zuckerberg: “Borrow” what works
Zuckerberg is one of the rare people who doesn’t fear his competitors.
Well, he perhaps does fear them, but he also learns from them.
As ContentPlant wrote back in 2017, “Zuckerberg was really worried about the last year’s trend which stated that the number of youngsters who don’t use Facebook is increasing.”
Instead of fighting the new trends or trying to reinvent the wheel, Zuckerberg “borrowed” what works from emerging social media platforms.
Teenagers love Snapchat stories because they disappear in 24 hours? Facebook rolls out Facebook and Messenger Stories.
Gen Z-ers like short, easy-to-digest, and easy-to-create videos on TikTok? Instagram rolls out Instagram Reels.
And while we’re on the subject of Instagram, let me mention another Zuckerberg’s smart marketing move.
Zuckerberg didn’t just acquire the features of other social networks — he acquired the networks too, with Instagram and WhatsApp being the most widely-known examples.
Instead of fighting your competition or letting ego come in the way of your business success — learn from your competitors.
Let them test new ideas for you and then seize the opportunity.
2. Elon Musk: Get people talking while remaining an expert
Whether it’s smoking a joint on a Joe Rogan podcast, betting on Dogecoin, “the dark horse of crypto”, or naming his son X Æ A-Xii…
Musk never fails to surprise us.
And, coincidentally or not, he never fails to give us new reasons to talk about him.
Musk’s two companies, Tesla and SpaceX, are also popular topics that often crop up not only in business magazines but also on social media.
People are intrigued and interested in the development of the two companies, as well as their CEO’s personal story.
Though Musk often makes controversial moves, he never leaves room for speculations on whether he’s fit for a CEO.
His approval rates confirm this: 96% of SpaceX employees and 84% of Tesla employees approve of Musk.
And while there is such thing as bad publicity, if you can make people talk about you while maintaining authority — by all means, do so.
3. Jeff Bezos: You must come up with new ideas — but you also must test them
Good marketing is the result of constant experiments and testing. You can’t know what works until you’ve tried it.
And while many marketers do understand this humbling truth, many CEOs do not.
They expect immediate answers — so most marketers that are fond of their jobs give them.
They come up with a plan, execute it, and report on the numbers. But there’s no testing afterwards, no questions about why something works or how something could work even better.
Yes, their strategy might work. But is it really bringing in the ROI they need? I wouldn’t bet on it.
And Bezos, the world’s wealthiest person and a business mogul, wouldn’t either.
Before he invested money into TV advertising, he ran campaigns in Portland and Minneapolis for 16 long, long months. But it paid off: Bezos had his answer.
Amazon sales did improve — but not enough to cover the expenses of TV advertising.
But why did he run the campaigns for almost a year and a half when we know that TV advertising is far more expensive — and less profitable — than digital advertising?
Well, Bezos simply didn’t know if this will be true for his campaign and Amazon.
And he already realized two things:
- Novelty is vital in marketing. People are tired of advertisements that feel like advertisements. You need to make yours not feel like an advertisement. But you can’t do so if you’re using tactics that have been used for decades.
- While novelty is important, you don’t want to squander your money. Not even if you’re Jeff Bezos. That’s why you need testing.
You need the same approach in your marketing.
Not sure if something will work? Of course you aren’t. That’s always the case with new ideas.
So test your idea on a smaller scale to cut your losses. And when you do, even if you get solid results, experiment further see how you can make it even better.
4. Marie Forleo: Become the (relatable) face of your company
After naming her business Marie Forleo International, it only made sense for this female entrepreneur to become the face of it.
If I were to guess based on Forleo’s superb copywriting and marketing skills, this was her strategy from the get-go.
She perfectly embodies the values of her company — optimism, passion, confidence, entrepreneurship.
Marie is all of these things and inspires thousands of women to walk a similar path.
And without Marie, the person so many women look up to, Marie Forleo International would be just another business in the lifestyle niche.
What makes it stand out is Marie herself who, not accidentally, still hosts MarieTV.
If you embody the values of your company — if you can speak on behalf of it, don’t shy away from cameras and publicity. Embrace them.
"Fear is really a GPS for where your soul most wants to go."
Motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and author @marieforleo explains why you have the power to change your life. pic.twitter.com/ajVpc0GGd6
— Tamron Hall Show (@TamronHallShow) February 10, 2021
5. Sundar Pichai: Always strive for better customer service — even if you’re already doing a great job
We know that Google has been doing a great job at serving its customers.
How many times have you typed a vague keyword and got results that perfectly match what you were looking for?
Or how often did you find all the answers you needed on the first page Google suggested?
This is no coincidence, nor would other search engines give you as relevant results as Google.
(Which is probably why Google is still the number one search engine worldwide.)
Google releases minor updates every day and larger updates — core updates, every few months.
The goal is to improve user experience even further.
You can easily apply this tactic to your business, no matter what niche you’re in. Just replace the phrase user experience with customer service.
Frequent changes that help you serve your customers better also help you do these two things:
- stay ahead of your competition
- keep your business afloat without rolling out new products or having to look for new customers
Delight your customers to increase repeat business and your CLV (customer lifetime value).
Originally written by me on Medium. Main photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash