Why CEO's Don't Understand B2B Marketing And How To Deal With Them

It's true. In many cases, CEO's do not understand marketing. It's not their fault. Many are not from marketing backgrounds. It's more common they have worked in sales, finance or operations. I do find it strange that not too many CMO's end up as CEO's but that's a different debate.

The big problem lies in the fact that B2B marketing is massively complicated. This whole concept of 'building a marketing machine is a significant challenge. But it's what a CEO wants. Plus, you know what, the CEO doesn't care about the mechanics of the machine.

They just, from a high level, see inputs and outputs. The middle ground in a lot of cases is not of interest. They don't care about the complexity of stitching together 15 channels to drive results in an integrated, impactful way. Remember that point.

Your role as a leader is to think about the mechanics. To explain clearly the inputs and what are the outputs. Now, if the results are not where they need to be, you need to be good at explaining the pivots, the challenges and what you are doing to solve those issues.

A good CEO know's nothing is easy to fix. At the same time, some CEO's will get more hands-on and learn about the components of marketing.

In conclusion, be strategic about building an architecture for your B2B marketing efforts. You need to piece together multiple components like an engine. But don't obsess over teaching the CEO about the various small parts within the machine.

Obsess more about what it all means, why you are doing what you are doing and how the engine's build will develop over time. Make sure they understand the complexity but not the detail in the complexity.

It's not relevant. You need to solve it. When communicating the strategy, talk more on the inputs (people, process, prioritisation and budget) to outputs (brand building and sales activation).

Whenever you're ready, there are three ways I can help you:

(1) DUE DILIGENCE FOR INVESTORS & CEOs: A bespoke framework and capability model 'DEMAND KARMA' that delivers DD services to investors, VC firms and CEOs.

(2) ADVISORY: Retained advisory at funded scale-ups. A simple monthly fee. Helping CEOs build a scalable marketing machine. (Booked out until December)

(3) STRATEGY COACHING: Book time on my calendar to work through a standalone project or to get answers to your most pressing marketing strategy and execution questions.

If you're interested, let's jump on a call to see if you're a good fit.

Get My Weekly Digest:
A Newsletter for the Curious

Every Saturday at 11:30 GMT, I publish a weekly briefing that includes commentary on 7 articles I've found useful during the week, an actionable Q&A section with a key learning, and a recommendation for your tech stack — all consumable within 3 minutes.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.