You are currently browsing Craig O'Neal, President/CEO’s articles.

Chick-fil-A logoPeople here at VantagePoint will tell you that I am a big fan of Chick-fil-A. On my way to a client meeting yesterday, I had only a few minutes to grab a quick bite. I had two options: Chick-fil-A or another leading fast food restaurant that I won’t mention by name. Because of my brand loyalty to Chick-fil-A, I was able to make the decision quickly and pulled into their parking lot. What happened next really made a significant impression (and hence the reason for this blog entry).
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I was delighted to see in BtoB Magazine’s 10th Anniversary issue that one of the major trends over the past 10 years in the business-to-business space is the rise of the CMO. Admittedly biased, the addition of this key function to the c-suite is a must for any company who really is serious about growth in today’s marketplace. If marketing is all about creating and retaining customers, pray tell me, how can the CMO role not be critical?

As the article stated, “The CMO is really a business strategist and the owner of the customer experience who has the ability to work with every facet of the organization to optimize the customer experience.” Many companies give lip service to being “customer centric” but have not taken the necessary steps of having a key internal champion in the c-level suite (the CMO) to truly be so. Until they do, it will continue to be lip service, and the company will continue to get less than optimal results in the marketplace.

No doubt it’s been a transition for many CEOs to come to recognize that a very good CMO is worth his or her weight in gold. I have personally found that there is a direct correlation between the value that a CEO places on marketing and the value they place on a CMO. Those of us in marketing should then take heart that the CMO position has become increasingly important over the past decade and that more and more companies are seeing the real value of outstanding marketing. However, the CMO function is also one of the most challenging positions, with tremendous expectations to produce results like never before.

I’ll have several things to say in my next blog about these expectations and what that means for the CMO. Stay tuned…

I was reviewing the top 100 B2B advertisers list that was published in a “recent” issue of BtoB Magazine. (Yes, I’m a bit behind on my reading). The list reinforced for me what I have known for a long time: market leaders are also marketing leaders. While that may seem to be stating the obvious, I am not convinced a lot companies, especially in the b-to-b space, fully grasp the direct correlation. So here is a challenge for you:

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It’s still very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that if you develop a great product, everything else will just take care of itself. Very recently I was in a meeting and listened to a CEO of a company confess that his product wasn’t selling like he thought it should. He said that the company produced, without question, the best product in the industry, but it is struggling with getting its fair share of the market.

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