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Rewiring the digital CMO

The two ways marketers must change to deal with the digital marketplace

Digital technologies are making the CMO more strategic, thanks to measurements that help them make a more powerful business case to the C-suite. That could be one reason why the average CMO tenure has doubled since 2004.

CMOs are getting it: Drive business results. But “getting it” is just step one toward digital transformation. CMOs must completely rewire their brains in two ways:

rewiringCMOFrom strategy planning to adaptive (agile) strategy: Consumers today operate at click-speed. Businesses must respond and adapt likewise. Clive Sirkin, CMO of Kimberly-Clark, calls it “being in perpetual beta.”

Dismantle silos inside and out. Inside, promote collaboration. Outside, tune into the customers’ voice, both via data and testing and by simply listening to them through feedback channels and social media, so you can shape your offerings to their needs.

Test it, nail it and scale it. Agile CMOs embrace fast, incremental improvements. They don’t wait for perfect – they test campaigns to see what works, then iterate to make it better, faster, and cheaper.

Try small, fast trials. This limits costs and lets you learn at low risk. For example, test a micro-segment or a subset of your services against varying offers. After optimizing the marketing mix in a smaller universe, confidently scale it out.

Starbucks continually tests technologies, such as cutting wait times by adding mobile payments. Unsurprisingly, its stock price has surged.

From brand campaigns to technology platforms: CMOs must encode brand ideas and values into their technology platforms, as the primary “face” to customers and partners.

Champion technology across all customer touchpoints. The new CMO must synchronize data management, analytics, and operations. That requires working in harmony with the CIO, integrating CRM systems with other tools to capture intelligence from all customer data. The customer sees one unified company, while the company gains a single view of the customer. As all arms of the organization understand and use customer interaction data, the business can align to the digital customer journey to craft more immersive experience for audiences.

Embrace real-time measurement, analysis, and response.  Combining analytics and performance data within a unified platform lets marketers make quick adjustments to immediately improve results. The platform should link outbound and inbound marketing, self- service websites, interactive voice response, mobile apps, while feeding contact center and sales force automation tools. Where possible, provide real-time support to customer-facing processes.

By embedding radio frequency (RF) technology in every pass, Vail Resorts captures and analyzes data from the very first lift ride to enhance customer experience. In its first season alone, nearly 100,000 guests activated accounts in the linked EpicMix.com site and sharing on Facebook and Twitter generated 35 million impressions.

Einstein said we can’t solve our problems with the same thinking that created them. You’ll know you’ve reimagined your role when you directly steer the business to deliver differentiated customer experiences, streamline operations, and develop new, digitally-savvy business models.