Tag Archives: Chief marketing officer

Flying Blind

The latest edition of the CMO Survey from the Fuqua School at Duke is out and it’s baffling, at least to me.  You can read the data here if you care to but here are a few points that caught my eye.  Maybe which raised an eyebrow as well.  

The good news is that there seems to be an awareness that we live in a data-driven age.  The report shows that CMOs expect to nearly double the share of their budgets spent on marketing analytics over the next few years. That said, current levels of spending are actually down. Unlike computer chips, it hasn’t been my experience that you can buy more for less in the analytics field so that’s kind of baffling.  In addition, there may be more data around but it seems as if it’s getting used less.  Overall, CMOs reported that just 29% of projects used available or requested marketing analytics, down from 32.5% a year earlier and representing the lowest figure since August 2013.  Huh?

The strange news doesn’t stop there.  Despite the fact that we’ve been using social media in marketing for at least 5 years, social media remains poorly integrated with marketing strategy.  When asked “How well is social media integrated with marketing strategy?”  23%  reported a 1 or 2 on a 7 point scale.  That lack of integration isn’t restricted to social media either.  When asked “How effectively does your company integrate customer information across purchasing, communication, and social media channels” the average score was  3.7, down from 3.9.  In other words, flying blind.

That has an effect on how well CMO’s can track results.  They were asked about the impact of their social media spending, the same social media that isn’t properly integrated into their marketing strategy.  14% reported that they have proven the impact quantitatively.  41% said that they have a good qualitative sense of the impact, but not a quantitative impact.  Nearly half – 45% – said that they haven’t been able to show the impact yet.  Anyone wondering why?

One final rant.  Most marketers have low levels of concern about the use of online customer data.   When asked “How worried are you that the use of online customer data could raise questions about privacy?”40%  answered either a 1 or 2 on the 7 point scale.  Not very concerned, in other words.  Really?

I find much of the above indicative that many marketers are still flying blind.  What’s your take?

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Filed under digital media, Huh?

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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Filed under Consulting, digital media

Chief Customer Officers

How do you serve the needs of your customers when you don’t know what those needs entail?

English: A business ideally is continually see...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Moreover, how does that situation get rectified when there is no one who is focused on discovering and voicing those needs?  “Oh,” you say.  “That doesn’t seem possible.  After all, we have entered a time when customers share their thoughts freely and the tools for engagement are widely available.”  I know – that was my response to the questions too, except I asked them after looking at a piece of research from the Economist Intelligence Unit, reported by Marketing Profs.  A little disturbing:

Only six in ten senior business leaders view their companies as customer-centric, and only 56% report a clear understanding of customers’ tastes and needs…only 19% of CMOs play a leading role in connecting customer-facing functions.  21% of the respondents believe it is a shared responsibility across multiple roles. A plurality, however, believe the CMO should represent the “voice of the customer.

Maybe that’s the problem – “marketing” officer is by definition focused on advancing the goals and messages of the organization.  Perhaps we should instead be calling someone the CCOChief Customer Officer.  Their job is to be focused on advancing the customer’s needs.  They can use research and social tools to discover what’s on customers’ minds and translate those insights into goals and tactics for the organization.

As it turns out, such a position does exist in some companies.  It’s relatively new but I think it’s an area that will become critical across most businesses over time.   I’m sure there will be the usual delays as corporate infighting takes place as the roles become redefined.  Too bad – it’s a missed opportunity.  I thought this bit from the MediaPost article was interesting:

Customer insight, data-driven analytical capabilities and social media expertise are among the CMO skills that respondents say are becoming increasingly important. These and other technical skills are critical because they help CMOs justify marketing investment based on facts, not assumption, enabling them to build credibility throughout the organization.

In a phrase, OMG.  So we want to get in touch with our customers so we can be more credible and so we can increase our marketing spend?  In my opinion, not so much although I do agree with the first part of the statement.  The best way to justify any expenditure is through results, and the best way to get those results is to be in lock step with your customers.  The CCO role can help make that happen. Do you agree?

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Filed under Reality checks

Are Brands As Bad As Politicians?

There’s another presidential debate this evening so I’ve got politics on my mind.  While the debates are focal points, the entire campaign season (a way too long season IMHO) has been filled with charges of factual distortion or outright lying by one candidate or another.  There are numerous non-partisan fact-checking sites so getting at the truth (or nearer to it anyway) isn’t as hard as one might think.  What the entire process does call into question, however, is how willing most of the participants are to stretch the truth, to use selective data points while ignoring others that don’t help them, or to fabricate allegedly factual statements out of whole cloth.

The unfortunate reality is that politicians aren’t alone in this.  In fact, one could say that they’re no worse than many marketers.  There is an interesting column this morning in a marketing blog that asks if CMO’s know when they’re lying:

As consumers’ ability and interest in monitoring corporate behavior intensifies, major brands like McDonald’s, Johnson & Johnson, and Coca-Cola are clearly injecting corporate-social-responsibility messages into marketing platforms as never before.  Trouble is, telling the truth has never been a marketer’s strong suit. In fact, we are still shaking our heads at how distorted some of these hybridized half-pitches, half-aren’t-we-a-good-company messages are.

No one over the age of 10 thinks french fries or sugary drinks are good for you so selling them with a nutrition message is just wrong.  If you saw a message like that you’d scoff.  But  how many marketers knowingly tell half-truths that are less apparent to the consumer?  No, I don’t expect that any brand will state “this is an OK product that will probably fall apart in a year but what do you want for a third of what you’d pay for the best?”.  However, how many food products add “natural” to the label to imply that an otherwise non-nutritious box of cereal is wholesome?  How many bad home loans were written on terms the lender knew the buyer was unable to afford by making it seem as if they could?  I’m sure you could add a few examples here.

We’re quick to criticize politicians (you can tell he’s lying because his lips are moving).  It might not be a bad thing to think about glass houses while we do so.


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Filed under Reality checks

We Want Your Opinion – Let Us Give It To You

More evidence the other day about the ongoing disconnect between brands and their customers in the social media space.  It’s always interesting how consumers say one thing and those folks at brands who are responsible for listening say something quite different when asked the same question.  Today’s evidence comes courtesy of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council via Econsultancy and I think it’s good for a smile, even if it’s kind of a sardonic one.  It has to do with the results of a recent study that dealt with reasons for social media interaction with brands. Continue reading

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Filed under digital media, Helpful Hints

Opting Out

SIERRA MADRE, CA - MAY 29:  Seventieth anniver...

It’s nice of folks to follow me on Twitter and in general I follow them right back. What happens next has become interesting. Quite often, I get a direct message (which in my case leads to a text message on my phone) thanking me for the follow and urging me to do something (click here, read this, etc.). That’s when I opt out – I either unfollow them or report them for spam if most of their tweets seem to be spammy – and I gather I’m not alone. Continue reading

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Filed under digital media, Helpful Hints