You’re Already Behind

The IBM folks have been surveying Chief Marketing Officers for quite some time and the latest results of that survey have come out.

Image representing IBM as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

You can read the study yourself by clicking through but I’d like to point out one data point that really got my attention.  It was this:

It’s questionable whether CMOs are moving fast enough to keep up with the speed at which the commercial landscape is evolving, or whether they need something akin to a turbo boost…The situation is, if anything, worse than it was when we completed our last Global CMO Study.  In 2011, 71 percent of the CMOs we interviewed told us they felt underprepared to deal with the data explosion. Today, a full 82 percent feel that way. Two-thirds of all CMOs also report that they’re not ready to cope with social media, which is only marginally less than was the case three years ago.

This is scary.  It used to be that marketers would pay for tons of research better to understand their customers.  The dream was a 360 degree view of the customer’s purchasing and media habits.  Today, that dream is very viable – it’s within a marketers grasp – but only if the marketers have structured their organizations and daily routines to include analytics.  I’m not just talking about web analytics but also point of sale information, real-time data from social media, and any other font of information which can be integrated to round out that view.  That seems to me to be common sense and yet less than a fifth of CMO’s feel ready to deal with all of this.  Put that in the context of over two-thirds of them acknowledging that digital channels will play a bigger role in their interactions with customers in the next three to five years and one concludes that the vast majority of companies are far behind where they need to be.

I’m not sure why this is.  Maybe it’s an investment issue – it’s hard to find dollars to invest on new things in almost every organization.  It might be a priority issue but the folks in charge seem to acknowledge the need.  Maybe it’s the life-cycle of the CMO, which has always been one of the shortest tenured positions in the “C” suite.  No matter what it is, it’s a tremendous opportunity for anyone who can get their company’s stuff together and leap ahead of their competitors.  Will that be you?

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