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Monday, June 3, 2013

From Stretched to Strengthened: Insights from the Global Chief Marketing Officer Study

It’s no secret, the digital revolution is among us. The increasing influence of social media, peer-to-peer sharing, mobile marketing, and interactive advertising has changed business as we know it. So, how do we deal with the emergence of digital platforms? How do we manage the plethora of data available and use it to deliver value to customers? It begins with understanding the new realities of the marketing landscape.

In 2011, IBM published a study asking CMOs to address their take on the digital revolution and the fundamental shifts transforming organizations and the world. “From Stretched to Strengthened: Insights from the Global Chief Marketing Officer Study” presents the findings from face-to-face interviews with more than 1,700 CMOs across 64 counties and 19 industries. The survey revealed an overwhelming consensus about the following challenges facing CMOs and the general sense of unpreparedness to managing them:  

1.      Delivering value to the empowered customer - The customer has control over the business relationship. With the ability to shop around the globe, track the behavior of organizations, and share their opinions with millions in a matter of seconds, customers are empowered like never before.

2.      Understanding the individual not the market - Very few CMOs are fully utilizing the power of digital platforms to gain insight on their customers. Instead of relying on traditional sources of information to analyze markets, it is time to focus on what individual customers need and desire. In today’s digital world, engaging with customers through social networks is imperative for understanding what they value and what they expect.  

3.      Fostering lasting connections with customers - Customer loyalty is a powerful force. A disappointed customer can so easily go elsewhere whereas a satisfied one can be a tremendous ally and advocate for your brand. Building relationships with customers that last well beyond the point of sale is critical. Use social media as a tool to engage with customers and citizens at every stage of the customer lifecycle.

4.      Emphasizing corporate character - Customers can easily discover details about how a product is made, how a company treats its employees, and its stance on environmental and social issues. Align your corporate culture with your external brand to establish consistency and loyalty. Build a workforce that both embraces and exemplifies your corporate character.    

5.      Capturing value and measuring the results of marketing efforts - CMOs are under pressure to monetize the results of their marketing initiatives. Capture this value by hiring talent with a broader mix of skills. Partner with external agencies who specialize in digital data management and, most importantly, expand your own frame of knowledge and skills to avoid playing catch-up as the business world continues to move forward.   

The digital revolution is not slowing down. If anything, the future promises to be more complex and overloaded with data. By understanding the challenges of the shift to a digital world, we reveal the opportunities.

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