Andy Bosman is living the (marketer’s) dream. In his role as chief marketing officer at McGladrey, Andy is bringing the power of marketing to the business in a way that few have been able to achieve. He shared his story recently at the October BMA Chicago Marketing Leaders Luncheon Series with a room full of marketing admirers.
So many of the chapters in Andy’s marketing story have been heard before — tales of rebranding, sports sponsorships, org structure shifts, internal communications. But Andy’s spin on each of these marketing archetypes is very different, and everyone at the BMA event, from new to experienced marketers, learned something new from Andy’s journey.
First, a bit about the backdrop. McGladrey is a services-led company, where the product is the people. There have been multiple brands, and therein lies some of the drama in the story. Unity was essential, and getting to a single brand a key journey Andy had to lead for the organization. He also had to ensure that the internal mission and external marketing were well aligned. Market-leading client and talent experience is the happy ending. Getting there is the thing … and Andy shared how he worked with the partners in the business to research, develop and (almost) launch a unified experience.
On October 26th, the global organization, with its multiple brands, is going to launch under RSM. Spoiler alert: The rebranding isn’t even complete and yet is already driving pipeline increases.
It started with team unity — marketing, communications, sales and research all came together organizationally under Andy’s leadership. This is not the norm — and this strong alignment has proven to be a powerful way to move pipeline. Andy stressed, however, that even if your organization doesn’t bring these teams together structurally, it’s essential to still align everyone with a common mission.
Andy’s approach to branding is also different. As he said … brand is business. Sure, everybody wants to talk about the colors — let them, get through it and get over it (make a sidebar story, if you will). Revenue is the point. Conversations, even at a sponsored golf tournament, have financial value. While the organization had strong existing brands to choose from, the research team worked hard to determine the best choice looking through both internal and external lenses. So while the name selected is “RSM,” the choice itself was not the goal of the marketing team. The real end game is driving revenue, and Andy’s team made sure they also positioned the brand to do just that in two ways: a new approach to thought leadership and a more realistic way of measuring branding ROI.
First, Andy redesigned thought leadership. Again … a typical focus for marketers, and a story we’ve all heard before. But Andy’s approach centered on ensuring that brand content and programs could answer the question: “Is the customer smarter as a result of an interaction with our content and our talent? Are the insights making a difference, not just pablum?” This drove the development of market research for the rarely studied middle market (their segment focus) packaged in a variety of ways to ensure value-add — used both internally for talent and externally for customers and prospects. More issues-based topics were important to engage customers and internal engagement on those very same platforms helped employees to build thought leadership into customer engagement on an ongoing basis.
Secondly, Andy took a different approach to measuring brand ROI. A common element in any marketing tale, it usually is the most confusing element of the plot. Yes, metrics matter, but which ones? Walking into the C-suite showcasing brand ROI in the traditional sense results in eye-rolling. But Andy showed how even a golf sponsorship could move the needle by analyzing the revenue trend line for every single invitee. All the brand impressions in the world don’t matter if revenue isn’t impacted. His team researched what mattered for their business, and the indicators they track have more to do with how effectively they are leveraging research insight, how responsive they are to the customer and other customer-driven elements that matter most.
Andy’s wrap-up turned the story’s focus on the BMA luncheon attendee, advising the marketer to provide real value to the business they serve:
- Know the business of your business so that the marketing strategy adds value … because it is a business conversation.
- You are a strategic advisor to the organization and nobody knows the client better than you do. Marketing and communications are the supporting and secondary story.
- Newsflash … marketing is a cost center. Don’t make up ROI metrics that try to change this fact. The way you drive value and growth is through the customer and prospect conversations you enable with your organization. Measure what matters.
Great story, Andy! We’ll all be watching October 26th to see the final chapter unfold as McGladrey becomes RSM. We can’t wait for the sequel!