Tag Archives: CMO

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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Results, Stupid

You probably get a lot of “news” in your Facebook feed.  You know – really critical information that tends to end with “you won’t believe what happened next” which is begging you to click through to see.  If you take the bait and do so, you probably consume the content and forget about it within a minute.  The result the post was looking for was the click.

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Marketers do that a lot.  They get focused on you seeing the message, maybe clicking through to see “what happens next”, but they seem to be forgetting that the result they’re after is either a direct business result such as a sale or a deepening of the ongoing relationship with the consumer.  It’s the relationship – the emotional connection – that leads, once again to a measurable result: sales.

I was sort of surprised, therefore, when I came across the results of a survey from the Korn Ferry Global Marketing Center of Expertise.  I’ll quote from their release here:

The survey indicates there’s growing pressure among marketing executives to demonstrate that their work directly contributes to bottom-line results. Fifty-seven percent of CMOs cite the inability to directly connect marketing efforts to tangible business outcomes as the top factor behind low CMO tenure…Only 27 percent of marketing executives cite connecting marketing to bottom-line results as the top concern keeping them up at night. What plagues CMOs the most is the ability to create sustainable and engaging customer relationships while improving the customer experience (34 percent). Also, 27 percent say staying ahead and taking advantage of the latest digital technology trends is a main concern.

Hmm.  It’s great to create those relationships but if nearly 3/4 of these CMO’s are focused on something other than results it’s no wonder that they’re not lasting very long in their jobs.  The last point about focusing on the latest and greatest tech concerns me a lot.  This goes against my basic mantra that the focus needs to be on the business and on measurable business outcomes, not on the tools.  A business can’t do tech (or anything else) because “it’s cool.”   Sales are cool.  Profits are cool.  Tech is a series of tools which may or may not be appropriate (or cool)  for the given situation and desired outcome.

You wouldn’t cut a board with a screwdriver.  You’d select the right tool with the desired result in mind.  If over half the CMO’s surveyed aren’t connecting with those results, their brands and businesses have a big problem.  It’s not a surprise to me that Facebook is cited as the top channel for consumer connection but I wonder if the CMO’s who use it realize how little connection is really going on between “fans” and brands?  Facebook or any other tool are neither good nor bad.  They have to be measured in the context of results, otherwise they’re just the latest shiny object.  We can’t build a long-term business on those shiny things, can we?


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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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