Over the last few weeks, I’ve attended four breakfasts, a dinner, and several one-on-one briefings with CMOs to discuss the findings of our global CMO study. I’ve had a great time talking to my marketing peers as it’s been a rare opportunity to step back from the day-to-day and gauge where others are at – and where we are at compared to the market.
Back at my desk, I’ve had a chance to reflect on the many conversations I’ve had and it’s fair to say there’s a lot of agreement with the study from the other marketers – people understand and viscerally agree with what’s being said and recognise the challenges.
Overall, a lot of the talking points were around the role and skillset of the CMO and whether we are equipped for the changes coming our way. Common areas where marketers are feeling underprepared include the challenges of new devices, dealing with empowered customers and decreasing brand loyalty. There was widespread recognition that Australian and New Zealand CMOs are lagging behind the global average in some key areas. Possibly, because they are relying on traditional sources of market insight rather than using real-time customer feedback to the same extent as their counterparts overseas.
I’ve come away with the feeling the three overarching challenges identified in the study are spot on:
- Deliver value to empowered customers
- Foster lasting connections
- Capture value, measure results
So the key to moving forward is to switch from the challenges to the opportunities and the issues to the actions. There’s plenty we could do, but what are the few most important things we should do now?
We can start by changing things so we are driven by real-time insights – not just into client segments, but drilling down into individual client segments and individual customers. These insights can transform our marketing so we are delivering valuable communications and dealing with responses in a customized fashion based on the client’s needs. In this way, marketing becomes more of a service than an imposition, which can only be a good thing.
A clear takeaway from the discussions is many companies have bucket loads of data they aren’t using; they are suffering data overload and don’t know where to start. While this is a complex area, new capabilities are bringing real opportunity to the “data to insight” challenge.
Another high impact action area can come from the automation of your marketing and linked sales capabilities so you can get the insight, act, respond, and generate sales through an end-to-end linked process. This way you gain a better understanding of the value you are delivering, have an ongoing relationship, measure the value of that and understand your ROI. If done well this can help address all three of the challenges above.
So, now I’ve summed up some of the conversation points, I’d be interested to hear whether others agree with these priorities for CMOs. And if you don’t, what would be on your list? Who do you think is implementing these changes most effectively? And what’s the value-add they’re getting from doing so?