Bridging the Gap Between Marketing and the C-Suite


The role of marketing is changing. To be successful, marketing leaders must be able to adapt and evolve with the times. One of the biggest challenges facing marketers today is the need to bridge the gap between marketing and the c-suite. Success requires that marketing communicate effectively with these key decision-makers.  

Josh Wagner recently sat down with Mark Goblirsch, SVP & Managing Director of Client Advisory at Shift Paradigm for an episode of his podcast, Love Selling Hate Sales. During their conversation, Mark and Josh discussed the best ways to bridge that gap, as well as how to identify the elusive hybrid CMO. 

Here are three things we learned from their conversation.

Transparent communication is the cure for most of the modern marketer’s challenges

In today’s post-pandemic world, marketing teams are facing more pressure than ever before, even if they’re exceeding goals and expectations. The pressure and challenges that marketers continually face include communication with leads-driven leadership, navigating limiting organizational beliefs, and ultimately, speaking a different language than many C-Suite and sales team members. “Sometimes I joke about it being a little bit like Survivor,” explains Goblirsch. “You don’t want to get voted off the island; you end up in this kind of survival mode in what you’re going through. And even if you’re crushing it, you tend to, in that role, feel the pressure; you feel the stress.”

While many of marketers’ stressors surround communication, Goblirsch explains that the solutions also require communication, and it all boils down to transparency and a willingness to listen and understand past the scope of solely leads. While leads and revenue are important for any business, marketers oftentimes find that indicator is not the best indicator of success for marketing. There’s proof through impressions, clicks, opens, and the like. Golbirsch explains that though leads are important, it is important the C-Suite be open to these alternative metrics that are just as strong success indicators as leads have traditionally been.

To achieve growth and communicate these indicators, a level of transparent communication and decision-making must be present across the business. To illustrate where cloudy communication is common, Golbrisch used the example of decision-making among colleagues from different departments. He explained that a stressor, which is easily remedied with clear communication, is decision-making among peers. It can be frustrating for marketers working hand-in-hand with colleagues to be impacted by a decision that went into effect without knowledge of the decision and ultimately derails a collaborative effort. In situations like this, there becomes a fracture between not just colleagues, but departments, that can hinder the organization as a whole. 

Enter the hybrid marketer

Another way to help marketing teams overcome challenges and shifting marketing conditions is by determining what type of marketer is the organization’s CMO. According to Goblirsch, there are three main types of marketers in today’s world:

  • Qualitative Marketers
  • Quantitative Marketers
  • Hybrid Marketers

Qualitative Marketers

Qualitative marketers are the marketers that are most interested in things such as research and what is trending in the marketplace. This type of marketer also houses the creative marketers. The creatives are the people that can create catchy designs that are visually appealing and draft great copy that is intriguing, clever, and witty. They are less focused on data and more focused on catching the attention of the organization’s audience and building human, emotional connections. 

Quantitative Marketers

Quantitative marketers are people that are interested in data. They are focused on measuring data from campaigns and studying the analytics – both behavioral and non-behavioral. These types of marketers are most interested in helping to create analytically-driven, automated decisions that enhance the customer interaction and shephard the buying journey. 

Hybrid Marketers

Hybrid marketers are, as Goblirsch puts it, the rarest. These types of marketers have a foot in both the qualitative and quantitative doors. Their marketing brains are somewhat equally divided between the creative, research and trends, as well as the tech, data and analytics. Furthermore, they understand how to create project plans, but also understand how to drive the day-in, day-out creative and campaign processes integral to most all marketing teams. These are the most valuable types of marketers as they tend to be the most complete – from go-to-market strategy all the way through to marketing processes and campaigns. 

The Real Truth: The C-Suite Simply Cares About Ringing the Bell

From the CEO to other members of the C-Suite, marketing strategy, data and analytics, and automation all boils down to one thing: revenue. Goblirsch explains that while marketers understand there are many things that get measured outside the metric of simply “ringing the bell,” the key to communicating these to the C-Suite is by defining them as precursors or indicators to the bigger action of generating top line. “Impressions, clicks, or opens are all precursors to real revenue or real sales,” Goblirsch explains. When communicating these to C-Suite leaders, it is important to discuss how we got here, and where we are going from here. This could be communicating how to optimize or improve in a way that allows the company to ring the bell more frequently than they are at present-time. 

Nowadays, there is a whirlwind of information available for consumer consumption in both B2C and B2B markets alike.  The pressure is on marketers more than ever to catch the eye of the consumer.  It’s not all up to marketing, however. A business or organization has to collectively be on the same page through transparent communication or metrics, business plans and goals, and the road that will deliver achievement of those goals. To do that, marketers must communicate the entire journey to sales (and leads) to leadership, while leadership must take into account metrics and processes outside of those that simply “ring the bell.” When leadership and marketing teams can do this, they are able to achieve alignment and growth in a scalable way. 

To hear the entire episode featuring Mark, visit Love Selling Hating Sales episode 91 ‘The Nitty Gritty of Marketing’. If you would like to learn more about Shift Paradigm and how to create top-to-bottom alignment and growth, we would love to hear from you


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Bridging the Gap Between Marketing and the C-Suite

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