Shortening the Long Game: The CMO Flywheel Playbook

Shortening the Long Game: The CMO Flywheel Playbook

Executives are becoming more impatient with their CMOs, demanding quick results. The result is typically one of two things: short-sighted promotional gimmicks that generate a flash in the pan but damage the brand reputation or a revolving door of CMOs. 

What’s a CMO to do these days?

First, let break down (at a high level) what the CMO is being expected to do.

Short Game: Generate measurable results for the business that drive revenue. Depending on the business (B2C or B2B) this could mean foot traffic, pipeline, users, leads, or any combination there of. In short, feed the business—now.

Long Game: Grow the brand and build a brand that is attractive, valuable, and recognizable. The goal being to multiply the enterprise value at exit, IPO, or fundraising rounds.

The tricky part here is that what makes for an effective short-term strategy hinders the long-term strategy.

Think sales and promotions.


Hard selling.

Pushy tactics.

Commission breath.

Desperation deals.

Yeah, none of these are going to help you build a valuable brand, and quite often, will cheapen and damage your brand.

Enter the CMO Flywheel Playbook

Flywheel (noun): a heavy revolving wheel in a machine that is used to increase the machine’s momentum and thereby provide greater stability or a reserve of available power during interruptions in the delivery of power to the machine.

I’m going to be honest.

As branding and marketing professional, I’ve struggled with this internal conflict for years.

How can I drive results without abandoning my efforts to build an maintain the brand?

It wasn’t until this year that I finally cracked the code.

And now I’m going to share the playbook with you.

Here are the three things you can do today to achieve your short game objective

  1. Get in front of you ideal customer persona (ICP)
  2. Say exactly what they want to hear
  3. Make an irresistible offer

This sounds crazy simple and common sense, but you would be surprised how often these fundamentals are missed.

If you’re running paid ads online, and you’re not targeting an owned list of contacts, then there is probably room for improvement.

Pro Tip: Get your sales team’s prospect list with names and emails. Get them to provide you with a contact list of their ICPs. The more contacts the better. Upload those lists to create audiences in Meta or your preferred ad platform. Now you’re targeting ONLY your ICP.

Now the ad that you place in front of these users need to be attractive, compelling, and emotionally engaging.

How do you do that?

You must first understand what motivates your ICP–pains, fears, and desires.

Your messaging should focus on pains and fears and communicating the avoidance of risk or loss.

Research around Prospect Theory has shown that people will choose solutions that help them avoid loss or risk more so than those that promise opportunity. 

Pro Tip: Craft your messaging around pains and fears and the avoidance of an undesired outcome.

Now that you have their full attention, you need to give them a reason to act now.

Make converting a no-brainer.

To do this, you can employ various tactics: 

  • Scarcity: limited number available, limited time offer
  • Herd mentality: social proof, real-time sales/sign ups,
  • Incredible value: Bundled offer, buy one get multiple, cost of problem comparison, value of full solution if purchased individually
Pro Tip: Sell against the total burdened cost of the problem or the full value of the solution and make it seem like your solution could be unavailable soon.

These three short-game tactics will accomplish two things.

First, they will help you start getting better results fast.

Second, once you’ve mastered these, your branding efforts will feed the machine. 

You will have a customer-getting flywheel that will be unstoppable in the long run.

You will effectively shorten the long game.


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