CMOs and the Big Squeeze

Since the beginning of marketing, there have always been two camps. Data and creative. These two groups have done their best to work together, at times awkwardly combining research with creative campaigns to engage their audiences. But have they truly integrated to create real value in the digital age?

A few years ago Gartner published a report stating that CMOs would spend more money on technology than CIOs. Even going as far as to say, “If the situation for CIOs sounds dire, you’re hearing right.” If you didn’t know any better, you’d think that there is a widening gap between corporate information and marketing. In many circles marketing has become less about creative and more about information.

“Marketing is all about data” (source)

So marketers have done their due diligence and are now becoming data experts. Sure marketing needs to be adept at understanding and analyzing all the data it collects. But a new report by Forrester Research shares that CMOs should be careful not to swing the pendulum too far. It states:

“In 2017, at least 30% of CEOs will fire their CMO’s for ‘not mustering the blended skill set they need personally to pull off digital business transformation’” (source)

The report goes on to say that “companies with analytic-focused CMOs underperform, while marketers with both analytic and creative skills helm the strongest companies.”

Ouch. What are we to surmise from all of this research? Are data-minded CMOs being squeezed out? First, we must agree that both data and creativity are important to the marketing function. You can not have one without the other. The real challenge for marketers is that they must look at their role through a different set of lenses.

True CMO Intelligence

Consumer behavior has changed. Everyday there are new digital trends that must be considered. That means that we must determine what creativity looks like in relationship to both purchase behavior and social behavior. Here are some things you may want to be mindful of as a marketer in 2017;

  • Creativity is more than headlines and graphics; Creativity is about blending different elements together to communicate an idea. Think about this as you work with your digital team. Creativity could be the way you communicate through a different channel or with relevant information. What is your audience looking for? Consider the medium and the behavior and think differently about engaging them.
  • Data is more than graphs and bar charts: The data you are reading should be telling you a story. Use data to understand audience behavior and then creating an experience that is relevant to them is critical. There are more nets to cast and they are more targeted and specific than ever before. A new world of engagement practices awaits.
  • Put yourself in the shoes of the buyer: This is one of the most overlooked elements of marketing today. Many assumptions are made about the behavior of digital buyers today. When was the last time you purchased one of your own products online? Have you ever Googled your company? Follow the breadcrumbs, they will lead you.
  • Culture eats strategy for lunch: You can create the most innovative strategies to engage and connect with your audience, but don’t ever stop listening. With every click, post, tweet or share; your audience is telling you something. Continue to grow and learn with them. They only care about what meets their needs not yours.

Whether you’re a CMO or simply a business owner trying to make sense of your digital marketing environment, they all apply. As your customers continue to engage in new technologies, meet them in new and meaningful ways.

Marketers have always been told to think outside the box. But the box is no longer relevant. It’s now a fluid, organic process that requires a multitude of perspectives. Be willing to bridge the gap between information in your business with creative ways to engage. If done correctly, you can turn this marriage into momentum.

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