The Practical CMO by Chief Outsiders

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Four Best Practices for Ensuring Success from Start-up to Scale-up


Most business start-ups fail. The numbers are both compelling and ugly—only 10% of all business start-ups reach $1M in revenue and fewer than 1% get to $10 million.

What if you could beat the odds by employing four tested business practices? In this program, we are going to take a positive track and outline a set of proactive actions every business exec contemplating starting a business, or already actively building a new business, can adopt to beat the odds and achieve your goals.

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Your First Step to Becoming “More Digital”

Beth VanStory on host Mark Coronna's The Practical CMO from Chief Outsiders


The adoption of “digital” in your business may be an initiative you have considered but consistently tabled. With markets rebounding from COVID and with quickly forming preferences which will transform the way business is done online, you may be behind the curve. “Digital” offers increased abilities to manage your employees and your customer acquisition and relationships as online business becomes more of preference and less of an option.

But “digital” is hard to define, hard to prioritize, and often hard to execute well, following the “Business First, Digital Second” approach.

This expert session will help you structure an effective digital roadmap for your business, starting with digital marketing best practices.

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Amazon: Friend or Foe?


With the pandemic impacts on many businesses, a shift to more digital marketing and digital engagement with customers is definitely a priority for many CEOs and Marketing execs. One bridge to be crossed is the shift, or addition, of ecommerce channels for products and service delivery. And the second bridge comes right after the decision to move online: should you consider Amazon a friend or a foe as part of your ecommerce strategy?

There are two parts to understanding an Amazon decision, the first an analysis of strategic fit and the second, if you decide to use Amazon’s reach and capabilities, is what form of a relationship to have with them.

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Customer Communications Are Evolving: Are You Ready?

Rob Johnson, RJ47 Guest on The Practical CMO from Chief Outsiders

Now that the shift to a higher percentage of remote workers looks like it will continue after the current pandemic recedes, it’s time to ask what types of communications businesses should be used for effective customer acquisition and current customer development and retention. With an anticipated, 20-30% of the post-pandemic workforce projected to work remotely, what are the most effective communications channels and content? Should we reconsider a blend of more traditional communications along with a higher mix of digital? In this program, we’ll discuss best practices and share practical ideas for managing internal and external communications.

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Leadership: Inspiring People to Be Their Best

Major General Craig Whelden on The Practical CMO

When you boil down the model for successful leadership, what do you have? Do those key aspects of leadership translate from military to public companies? And is it possible to share practical guidance to help developing leaders grow?

In this podcast, I’ll be discussing these and related topics with Craig Whelden--a retired Major General in the U.S. Army. Craig also served as a senior executive for nine years in the U.S. Marine Corps. If you are aware of the cultural differences between these two service branches, you’ll understand just how unique Craig is in bringing his leadership model successfully to both.

Craig is an in-demand speaker and author on leadership. He brings a unique perspective built on practical guidance based on his own experiences and learning. And you’ll see that one of Craig’s characteristics is being authentic. It’s not just the situations which went well which polished Craig’s leadership model—it’s situations which turned out very differently than expected.

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Pricing with Daring Caution

Bob Sherlock is our guest on The Practical CMO hosted by Mark Coronna

What is it about pricing that appears daunting? Is it that it seems a strange mix of art and science which itself is intimidating? Is it a challenge because we lack the data from customers and competitors required to make high confidence decisions? Is it because we don’t have the courage to match our pricing with the value we provide? Or is it because we fear making a decision which may have unfortunate negative consequences on our business?

An effective pricing strategy may appear like the holy grail, but businesses need competitive pricing which matches their value propositions and is effective in their core markets.

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Transformational Growth -Time to Consider?

Anil Singh Chief Outsiders - Transformational Growth

There are many ways to approach growth. Some businesses think incrementally about building off their core revenues and current customers. Others are a bit more ambitious and think one- or two-years out and focus on bringing existing products and services to new adjacent markets. Still fewer other businesses think more openly about growth as transforming their existing business model or starting new businesses which could add significant revenue and profit streams. So, do you pick one, some, or all of the above forms of growth?

Transformational growth seems challenging and risky, so why consider it? In this program, we’ll discuss what it involves, when you should consider it, and how to proactively manage it to improve results and reduce risks.

This is a big topic, and for this show, we are going to focus on answering two questions: WHY and WHEN. We feel every business leader who wants to consider a change should first start with an understanding of WHY and WHEN to consider transformational growth.

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GET MOVING! - The Two Most Important Words You Need to Know


There is plenty of free advice on how and what to do to manage your business through and out of the health crisis. Some of it is getting recycled pretty regularly and is starting to seem stale. I recently met Kyle Arneson when we participated in an “expert roundtable” and found Kyle’s guidance incredibly fresh and empowering. Building on his USMC background, Kyle attacks challenges just like you’d expect from a tenacious Marine. Kyle’s focus certainly encompasses best practices in planning and execution, but his focus is on business leadership—in fact, just how well leadership sets the agenda and pace.

When times are tough, the best business leaders run toward the challenge. Many won’t even use the word “challenge” to describe our current situation. They call it a “once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Does that surprise you? Listen in to learn more.

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Outperform Your Market: Embedding Horizon Growth Into Your Management Process

Tom Sween is Mark Coronna's guest on The Practical CMO

Two companies may take the same business processes or tools and adopt and implement them totally differently. Sometimes, there’s no “better or worse,” it’s more about making these tools and processes work best for you. 

Here’s an example. There are many ways small- and mid-sized businesses implement EOS/Traction management disciplines. Some use formal implementers, some contract with part-time integrators, and some try to do the whole thing themselves. Any of these approaches can work, as long as you embed the discipline into your ongoing management processes.

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“Internal” Networking - Your Key to Communication Success

Graham Dobbin on The Practical CMO with host Mark Coronna

Even the smallest companies can be challenged by poor internal communications. Fortune- sized enterprises? Sure. But small- and mid-sized business? Yes, it happens too often in these businesses. You might ask how and why that can happen when you have an employee base of less than 200 and everyone works in the same facility. I asked that question after observing poor communications--and the negative effects of having a workforce which is not aligned--hurt business performance—over and over.

Today’s approach to the topic of “failure to communicate” will explore an innovative way to improve communications—focusing on building an “internal” network.

Additional resources referred to in this program can be found here.

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