The answer to this title?s question is, in a word, it’s HUGE!? The marketing strategy must reflect and be and integral part of the company’s overall strategy, which is essentially, the CEO?s strategy. That said, the CEO must understand the marketing strategy to be comfortable that this is the case. This is not a trivial step. CEOs are busy, and they are usually smart and fast learners, so they will grasp the primary thrust of the marketing strategy from its first presentation.
However, it is the responsibility of the Marketing executive(s) to make sure the CEO understands the what, why and how, the nuances, the potential competitive reactions, the tripping points (where things can and do go wrong) and also has realistic expectations about what is success.
Ownership & Support
Because the CEO needs to support the implementation and to do that the CEO must have a deep understanding of the implementation and how it will unfold. Where are the pressure points, how might plans need to be flexible as the implementation moves along, and so forth? Few things go exactly as planned from beginning to end. Plan for it to go right, but be prepared if things get off track.
Share the highlights of any alternative/backup plans with the CEO. If problems come up, wise managers always have a Plan B (and a Plan C) well thought out. If you never use them, that’s fine. If you need to use them, and haven?t prepared/thought then out, that’s not fine. Be brief but write up backup plans so they can be shared quickly and clearly if things go seriously wrong?then don’t let things go seriously wrong.
Face Time? Support
The CEO needs to support the marketing strategy implementation with ?face time? too. Getting the CEO in front of key customers sends the right message to everyone. The customers know the CEO has bought in? and believes in the marketing plan. The sales organization knows the boss is there with them too and so do many other parts of the organization because word gets around.
Track Progress, but Don’t Meddle
The last part of the CEO?s ? in the marketing implementation is to monitor progress, but not meddle? (a big temptation for CEOs), and realize that everything doesn’t always go exactly as planned. On the other hand, Marketing?s job is to make sure than nearly everything and certainly the things under their control does go as planned. Outside disruptions are bad enough, without internal problems to overcome.
Join the Celebration Share in the Success
Finally, when the Marketing implementation is successful, don’t forget to include the CEO in the celebrations. The CEO may be the boss, but it’s human nature to more willing involved in such projects when they can share in the success with those who got the job done. Even CEOs like celebrating success after all, that’s probably how they got to the top!