- Digital disruption is requiring C-Suite executives to undergo different goals and job responsibilities, and CMOs are not exempt from this shift.
- In fact, a recent CMO Council report, produced in partnership with Teradata, found that 91% of marketers said there is an expectation by senior management that marketers drive measurable growth.
- CMOs must lean into data – pulled from across departments – to provide actionable insights for a better customer experience (CX).
- Essentially, CMOs must now become a “Jack of All Trades” to master the data conundrum, stay the course amidst disruption and rise above the competition.
The world around us is changing constantly, and to keep pace, enterprises have shifted their priorities to align with the modern consumer’s needs. This means using data as an asset and a guide to stay afloat during uncertain times.
More often than not, immense digital disruption brings different – sometimes greater – expectations, and loftier goals for employees. C-Suite executives in particular have needed to redefine their responsibilities as they look ahead to 2021 and beyond.
In a recent CMO Council report, produced in partnership with Teradata, 91% of marketers said that there was an expectation by senior management and board members that marketers drive measurable growth, with one in three saying that their business leaders felt it was the primary mandate of marketers today.
To stay successful amidst disruption, marketers need to understand how their roles will change in 2021 and take action to master essential elements of data science and customer experience (CX) practices in order to ultimately drive profitable results for their organizations.
Looking ahead: Marketing and CX in 2021
Let’s be frank: no one has mastered the data conundrum yet – not even the largest brands. And for many organizations, there’s a long road ahead to becoming truly data-savvy. The continuous push to become more data-driven has propelled the marketing function beyond the role of brand-promoter-in-chief, to CX and growth-driving champion.
CMOs are increasingly realizing the importance of looking to data to show powerful insights about the customer and to finesse their personal motivations.
The CMO Council report found that nearly 60% of marketers point to inconsistencies with the level of depth and granularity of customer insights, while a shocking 36% admit they just don’t have the info to know their consumers, let alone anticipate their needs.
These findings show that learning how to use data to refine customer personas and get to know the end-user will only increase in 2021. CMOs must recognize that having an “anticipatory stance” is no longer a “nice-to-have” – it’s now a necessity.
While it can be a challenging transition, optimizing the customer experience throughout the entire organization is vital to its health and well-being, especially heading into 2021. Businesses can create real value by leveraging info to more intelligently connect with customers and reach them in their moment of need.
For example, when asked about the “greatest relationship-building challenges,” 41% of marketers admitted their eagerness to deploy campaigns but also stated that they often forget about the individual behind those campaigns. If you prioritize the data first, there’s an opportunity to bridge that gap before launching any marketing campaign that would otherwise neglect the end user.
As CMOs chart their marketing paths for next year, there are three key steps to consider when planning and executing sustainable, data-driven CX initiatives. These include bridging the divide between IT and marketing, turning data into insights about the customer, and empowering marketing and CX professionals with analytics that are personalized to your customers.
The first step – bridging the divide between IT and marketing – will ultimately bring the previously elusive 360-degree view of the customer to life. This will allow data integration experts and citizen data integrators to collaborate rather than compete.
The second step is to turn data into tangible insights about the end user. How? Analytics. It’s necessary to arm your marketing and CX team with powerful, easy-to-use machine learning and other more advanced analytics. Having the right combination of both simple and advanced analytics will help to draw out insights into customer behavior accurately and quickly.
Although it’s much easier said than done, the third step is to leverage the insights and turn them into action across the organization. Come to a conclusion on how data-driven insights can best be turned into actions and ensure you tap into the necessary channels to make sure those actions are being followed across the organization from the top-down.
And, finally, ensure that people across departments and roles – from the CEO to frontline workers – are able to access and understand how data is being used to drive action across the organization.
Using data as an asset
Executing a data-driven, customer-centric strategy won’t happen overnight. However, CMOs who take the time to map out a critical, thoughtful approach, with the goal of producing real value for customers, will see the benefits of turning to data to optimize marketing tactics. Here are a few steps – leveraging insights from the CMO Council report findings – that are essential in tackling this feat:
Step 1: Integrate all customer data
Having a unified data infrastructure that pools data from multiple departments and systems is the most crucial step. This is not a job to be tackled solely by marketing or IT – it requires an enterprise-wide strategy and approach based on pooled investments and shared data across departments.
According to the CMO Council report, 68% of marketers said relevant data was only fairly accessible or “hit or miss.” It’s important to have a process, too, when handling new data to prevent siloes. And yes, marketers – not only IT professionals – are culpable in the proliferation of siloes.
Step 2: Scale customer insights
Once you have set a strong data foundation, it’s time to build off of it. This step is where you can utilize analytics to measure the impact of customer insights. Thousands of models can sense and react to customer opportunities and pain points.
Once you drill down on these through advanced analytic techniques, marketers can then use the insights to build customer personas and truly understand individual drivers and preferences. In order to scale analytic insights, the tools must support a broad range of users from coders (data scientists) to clickers (most marketers).
Step 3: Turn insights into actions
This is truly a time-sensitive process. Delays in insight gathering, plus the time it takes to act on those insights, can mean the difference between failure and success. If you miss a trend or hold onto a trend for too long, you can lose a tremendous amount of money.
Everything comes down to predicting a trend faster than competitors. This means access to real-time data is crucial – and the lynchpin is actually turning those customer insights into actions.
For example, if a potential customer has expressed interest or intent on the web, the opportunity to capitalize on that and create a meaningful CX is moot. Thus, it’s the company’s imperative to intercept the customer’s buying journey in real-time, coordinating cross-channel and turning insights into tangible experiences.
Step 4: Build a CX culture
It all comes down to using data as an asset and fostering a collaborative data-sharing culture. Ensure that frontline workers are empowered to leverage data by making it more accessible and readable for each unique set of functional requirements and priorities.
It’s imperative to understand the unique motivators of your cross-functional partners and how insights can be leveraged to advance activities in other areas of the business.
All about the data
Twenty years ago, a CMO might look at these tasks and immediately cast them off as the IT department’s responsibility. However, heading into 2021, CMOs must carefully think about this repositioning and how they are going to pivot.
They now must add yet another skill to their resume: embracing and driving data-driven initiatives. Becoming data-driven won’t happen overnight, but marketers must learn to harness data to power their organizations, anticipate consumers’ needs and rise above the competition.
It’s now their jobs to ensure that data doesn’t get siloed and is integrated into the unified data architecture, as well as to leverage the insights pulled from analytics platforms and turn them into actions. Given data permeates through and connects all departments, CMOs must accept that they are a “Jack of All Trades.”
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