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The CMO’s New BFF – Data!

At the recent Dreamforce in San Francisco, I was privileged to participate in the salesforce.com
 CMO Advisory Board. During that meeting, and as a strong theme throughout the entire Dreamforce conference,
it was clear that the CMO is now a valuable target for salesforce.com.  This week I was also delighted to participate in a meeting with one of our partners who announced their intent to also target the CMO.  I recently read a great article on Forbes entitled “How Forrester’s Former CMO Is Using Big Data To Build Next Generation CRM“. Then another entitled “Does SaaS, Cloud make the CMO the CIO“.  This all comes on the back of analyst house Gartner predicting that CMO’s will soon outspend the CIO in technology!
 
So what is all the fuss about all of a sudden? The answer is “data” which is fast becoming the CMO’s new BFF (best friend forever)!
 
In this blog post I want to share how this affects B2B Marketing. I will cover B2C marketing in a later post where data and relationships become even more important as companies look to open up new routes to market through social and mobile marketing.
 
There is no doubt in my mind that B2B Marketing has changed. Gone are the days when marketing was the creative engine that focused on brand imaging and creativity. That world has disappeared – replaced by science, analytics and razor-sharp execution of programs to engage in what IDC call digital and interpersonal dialogs. These dialogs represent a profound change in how B2B buyers now consider technology. They research, they evaluate and they engage when they are ready. The role of Marketing is to engage in that research process, deliver relevant content (content is king!) and engage with the buyer both prior to, during and after the sales cycle has occurred. Indeed, the fundamental relationship between sales and marketing has changed – both need each other through the entire sales and marketing cycles to maximize productivity and engagement.
 
In talking to analyst firm Sirius Decisions it is clear that the buying center has expanded to seven or eight people, all involved in the decision making process.  Best in class companies are now engaging their marketing engine to touch the buying center and ensure they remain engaged through the entire buying cycle.
 
To do this requires a new breed of CMO.  Today’s CMO needs a team with expertise in multiple disciplines – social media and community engagement to drive thought leadership, SEO and PPC to optimize for customer centric terms, click-stream analysis to determine who is looking at what, IP recognition to deliver dynamic relevant content, IP analysis to identify visitors from corporate prospects, master data management to deliver the single view of the buying center that can be used to deliver relevant role based content at the right time in the buying cycle, and to efficiently deliver leads to relevant sales teams.
 
The modern marketer is becoming a master of data – heck, let’s even call it a master of “Big Data!”. Indeed, this discipline of marketing is now full of those new magical people called “Data Scientists”. Who’d have thought it?
 
With all this data our goal is to deliver to sales a digital signature of our prospects.  We want to be able to know which companies are spending time looking at different products on our web – whether at an individual level or at a company level.  We want to cross-reference this with historical purchase data so that we can understand when people are looking at products that no-one from their company has purchased previously. By doing this we can engage more efficiently by sharing relevant content to prospects that we know are interested in what we have to offer.
 
Today the world of Marketing is being driven by an understanding that data provides insight and meaningful information that can focus engagement in ways never before possible. data integration, data quality and master data management are three critical components that will enable the delivery of the timely, trustworthy and authoritative data needed by CMO’s.
 
We are on a journey which I am sure many of you are also experiencing.  Let me know how you are using data to drive more effective marketing.
 
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One Response to The CMO’s New BFF – Data!

  1. Great post Chris. I do agree that the modern marketer has to be the master of data but 2 points I’d like to add:

    1) It’s not a data vs. creativity proposition. Ultimately the modern marketer must have a mix of both. Marketing still must be the creative engine, relying on data to learn from experiences, but still willing to try new approaches, tell compelling (customer-centric) stories, challenge the status quo and clearly differentiate products and/or services.

    2) Data alone doesn’t create meaningful insight. Trustworthy data is the foundation of course, but the modern marketer must then have the analytical skills to both understand what the data exposes and to know what questions to ask next to gain true insight.

    In your post you mention that “content is king.” I think the challenge for the modern marketer is to know what content is truly the most relevant (requires data and constant analysis) and then to be able to create more of it (requires creative writing, industry / domain expertise, etc.). I

    On a side note, your post also highlights the need for the modern marketer to have self-service access to the data they need – when, how and where they want it. This expectation is a key driver for cloud-based approaches to data integration and analytics.

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