Christine Feuell
Vice President, Global Marketing
Adient

In this excerpt from the Executive MindXchange Chronicles culled from Marketing Impact 2025: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange, Feuell leads a discussion on the importance of aligning marketing initiatives with overall organizational strategy, providing tools and insights to help marketers succeed.

Marketing must demonstrate business results and ROI for marketing spend and activities to prove itself. Aligning marketing priorities to business strategies and objectives demonstrates how marketing can be a key lever and driver of customers, brand value and profitable commercial growth! This session referenced frameworks, best practices and lessons learned from organizations that have successfully achieved strong growth through effective strategic marketing.

KEY TAKE-AWAYS
• Framework for prioritizing the key marketing strategies and budget
• Requirements that align to business strategies and objectives; in addition to the balance needed to deliver both quick wins and progressive strategic growth
• Fresh perspectives on creating marketing tools and collateral that are useful to the organization and resonate with customers
• Proven ways input from key stakeholders and customers can ensure marketing has the right priorities, plans and the support for success
• Practical examples for creating and activating, strong strategic marketing practices that connect the dots between customer requirements and the organization’s offerings (products, solutions, capabilities) to drive incremental customer value and commercial growth

KEY QUESTION
How is your marketing strategy positioned to the needs of the customer and business?

TAKE AWAY
• Brand strategy > Product and service strategy > Customer engagement strategy
• Marketing must demonstrate business results and ROI
• Aligning marketing priorities to business strategies and objectives improves marketing success
• Identifying and agreeing on priorities and KPIs at the senior level is critical to gaining internal stakeholder support and demonstrating marketing value

Mapping how marketing drives strategy and action
• Business strategy
• Brand Strategy
• Marketing strategy

Key marketing strategies and activities
• Research analysis, special studies
• Compelling product strategies that win with customers
• Strategic, dynamic pricing solutions
• Successful commercialization

TAKE-AWAY
• Create a framework for prioritizing the key marketing strategies and budget requirements
• It’s valuable to have one-on-one interactions with your customers and to make sure your leadership is having these interactions as well
• It is really important to dig into the “why” behind your marketing strategy

IMPLEMENTATION GUIDELINES
Avoid “shiny-object” syndrome
• Balance long-term strategic growth with “quick hit” actions that deliver near-term results
• Celebrate wins and share lessons learned for continuous improvement
• Implement smaller scale experimentation projects and pilot programs (minimize risk, fail fast, replicate successes more broadly)

Stakeholder alignment and performance measurement
• Have a clear marketing definition and value proposition
• Identify the key stakeholders for marketing, sales, communications, product management, engineering, IT, strategy, finance, customers
• Interview stakeholders and talk about the marketing story and priorities
• Know where marketing adds value. Core purpose: promote products, services, capabilities to drive strong business results that are measured

BEST PRACTICE
Focus on short-term goals
Many times organizations focus too much on the long-term goals without balancing short-term wins as well and building trust. You need to have things you’re going to deliver in the first 60-90 days so leadership can see the clear benefits of marketing.

The importance of data
Especially when you’re in a finance or manufacturing-based company, data is everything. Be sure to show how your team is using metrics to drive stronger results and efficiencies. Sometimes you have to shift the language and conversation to something that they can understand.

Get to know your customers and sales team
Interview your sales leaders and customers to get a better idea of what your customer wants. The more you understand what the customer wants, the easier your company can fill the gaps.

ACTION ITEM
• When it comes to events and customer engagements, align on the strategy in advance for the messaging (press releases, presentations, etc.)
• Align your value proposition with communications and develop a process to ensure that there is consistency. It may require a more rigorous planning process, but it’s crucial
• If you’re not meeting with customers on a regular basis, you need to. That’s the only way to understand what their needs are.
• Have marketing specific metrics but be sure to amplify that more broadly around the company and if possible, incorporate your marketing slides into corporate operations reviews

FINAL THOUGHT
When you are prioritizing your projects, be sure to do so in a way that adds value to your customers and business goals. It’s crucial to make sure that you have clear marketing reporting systems in place that displays the ways that your marketing is helping grow business. Also, be sure to meet with your customers and sales team on a regular basis to tap into true needs.

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