The ten most important questions a CMO can ask

Imagine that you’ve just been appointed Chief Marketing Officer at a major corporation for which you have no prior managerial knowledge or experience. You need to craft a growth strategy for your firm within your first 100 days in office. What are the most important questions you can ask to inform strategy making?

I ran this thought experiment myself and came up with the following ten questions; which I consider the most important questions a CMO can ask in any industry:

  1. Who are our customers? What are they like? How are their behaviors evolving?
  2. Who are our non-customers? What are they like? How are their behaviors evolving?
  3. Who are our best customers?
  4. Who are our worst customers?
  5. Why do our customers do business with us?
  6. Why won’t our non-customers do business with us?
  7. What do our various segments of customers value about our products or services? What are our customers’ jobs to be done?
  8. When, where, and how do our customers consume our products/services?
  9. How do our customers feel when doing business with us? What do they remember about us?
  10. How can we further increase both our value to and the value we obtain fromcustomers?

Since I wrote down the first version of these questions more than three years ago, many marketing leaders still do not have good answers to them. This is despite decades of effort and billions of dollars spent on customer relationship management, business intelligence, and multi-channel campaign management systems.

Why do you think this is the case? What do you think are the most important questions a CMO can ask? I welcome any comments and thoughts.

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