Most chief marketing officers (CMOs) today have grown up in an advertising environment that was radically different from the one that is the norm today. Until a few years ago, the world wide web did not have the all-pervasive control over our brand choices as it does today.
The CMOs’ formative years were spent in print and TV advertising which had very long shelf lives but today, given the influencers and social media channels, brands are being presented in many different formats to connect with customers.
The Customer Is Aware
The customer today is way more well informed, educated and indulgent than he/she ever was. They are also unpredictable and moody, known to change brand preference without warning or reason. There is an invisible race going on between the customers who are ‘smart’ and the brands and marketers who need to stay ‘smarter’ to stay ahead of the fast-changing consumer preferences.
The situation is further compounded by the eternal addiction to devices. As per the Mobile Marketing Ecosystem Report, 99% of India’s digital users access the internet through their mobile phones and the country has a total user base of 700 million unique mobile subscribers.
Another report shows that India has the world’s highest data usage per smartphone – an average of 9.8GB per month, which is estimated to reach 18GB by 2024. Mobile is just one device; huge amounts of consumer data is generated from PCs, tablets, etc.
Such a scenario has created a complicated maze for any CMO to manoeuvre. There is no way that he/she can navigate the ideal marketing path for their brand using traditional methods. However, this also presents a huge opportunity for brands and marketers to reinvent themselves and crack the code by putting together a marketing stack most suitable to their brand.
Marketers today are sitting on a bank of knowledge which is waiting to be exploited so they can stay a step ahead of their customers. And it’s possible to do this, with a little help from technology.
A Mindset Change
Marketers need to stop thinking of themselves as the rich cousin of the salesforce. They need to reinvent themselves instead as the ‘intelligent’ cousin – the one who combines brand content with the right technology with the objective of customer acquisition and retention.
To achieve this, CMOs need to create brand campaigns that touch customers on a personal level and are ‘relatable’, while being propelled in the right direction using technology tools. The overall approach needs to change from one of ‘selling’ a product to one of forming an ongoing relationship with the consumers, evolving from a push to a pull.
Best Friends With Data
Data has been called many things of late – the new oil, the new king – all of which convey that data occupies a top spot in today’s world. Data is the backbone of any organisation and a CMOs must understand how to harness the right data, understand its various aspects and analyse it correctly to derive the best possible insights to design their marketing campaigns.
Data holds the secret to greater personalisation of marketing tactics and paves the way for successful consumer acquisition and retention journey.
Organisations cannot make impactful changes to their model of customer experience without a clear action plan, that can only be derived by a CMO who lives with, for and by data analytics. Data can be used to offer predictive analytics on a real-time basis and that’s where the battle lines between competing brands are being drawn.
For example, banks are using fintech to drive individualised sales campaigns and promotions using data from your credit card usage patterns. Cognitive computing is another emerging technology that can provide key insights and drive business value.
Live by a Martech Playbook
Today’s CMO must be able to not only adopt and adapt technology but also contribute to innovation in marketing technology. This is where the ‘transformational’ stuff happens. They need to have a detailed, time tested and optimal technology stack for their brand and know how to effectively utilise it to continuously improve and further optimise results. To help them along on this front, they need to make the CIO their best friend in the organisation.
CMOs are the bridge between a brand and its audience, and CIOs show the path through data to help build solid bridges. Give the CIO a seat on your marketing brainstorming sessions and together you can enable digital transformation by delivering the best technologies to accelerate business growth in the digital age. This is the most important of all CXO level collaborations.
No Easy Days Yet
The modern-day CMOs job is more than just championing a product; they lead and drive the organisation’s customer-centricity using insights, research, analytics and strategy to elevate customer experience and loyalty. Their efforts go well beyond conventional marketing to the partnership, omni-channel and omni-vertical efforts. They also have to achieve financial targets not just metrics.
As consumer behaviour and technology continues to evolve, CMOs must evolve and constantly reinvent their approaches to match the current requirements of their audiences. With the increasing capability of marketing technologies, maintaining a personalised communication approach is key to a successful marketing strategy.
CMOs must learn to mine the right data, study and analyse it in the right manner and further utilise it to create unique, personalised experiences for their consumers. It is no longer about the product alone but more about the experience that the brand brings – and this is the code that today’s CMOs need to crack.