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What factors are going to make future CMOs successful?

In a recent interview,  Wilson Raj, Global Customer Intelligence Director for SAS, and Argyle Executive Forum Content Associate Lily Robertson discussed effective marketing strategies and how the role of the CMO is evolving.

Here’s an excerpt from their discussion.  To download a white paper of the full interview, click here.

Wilson Raj, Global Customer Intelligence Director for SAS

Robertson: Integrated marketing management is something that you, as well as CMOs, are paying a lot of attention to. With so many things going on in multi-channel marketing, can you walk me through some of the ramifications of that approach and what CMOs need to be paying attention to in order to be successful?

Raj: Integrated marketing management aligns and synchronizes two broad aspects of marketing: the planning and operations aspects and the multi-channel campaign management and customer experience aspects. In reality, many marketers are paying attention to or investing in one aspect or another, e.g. point solutions for workflow, demand generation, reporting and so on.

The true value comes from a holistic, integrated view that connects your marketing operations with your multi-channel campaign executions. This is where marketers can calibrate the financial, operational, and customer impacts of every single marketing activity. The result: businesses not only create better customer experiences, but do so more efficiently and cost-effectively.

Robertson: We’ve been hearing talk about how the CIO and CMO should be working together. They are still very separate roles in a lot of ways, but that sort of overlap and integration is likely to grow exponentially, correct?

Raj: Absolutely, and SAS is viewing this inevitable overlap from a technology perspective and merging that with the marketer’s perspective. For the last 36 years we have been a leader in analytics, and we start with the technology and capabilities to simplify, analyze, forecast and provide rich intelligence that will allow enterprises to take the right marketing actions at the right time.

So if SAS is involved with the technology and there’s a collision between the technology piece and the marketing discipline, the collaborations with CMOs and CIOs is going to be pivotal, because if both are solving business problems then they will have to meet.

The CIO is going to be looking to the marketing leader and say, “All right, what kinds of technologies and intelligence and capabilities do you need to stay ahead of the competition?” And the CMO will tell the CIO, “I need these kinds of capabilities and modeling to be able to do the customer differentiation and positive messaging needed in this very evolving marketplace.”

So they’re speaking the same language, and it’s all about the customer.

Robertson: What other factors do you think are going to make the CMO successful in the future?

Raj: You should get out of this mindset that any kind of analytics or custom intelligence is just glorified reporting.

When many enterprises big and small think of analytics they think of some sort of a dashboard or report about performance, which is all well and good. But that’s about looking at the past.

Through analytics you’re looking at future and potential. You extract data and insights to be able to inform new segmentation models, new value propositions and new products and services for customers. By unlocking and uncovering all those things that have great potential, your business can truly be at the forefront in terms of anticipating and exceeding customer expectations.

Another element is that because data is really the driver to all this, the most successful practitioner teams tend to have a more centralized data- and information-management system. In many companies data is locked in various warehouses within the organization. You have customer records from the call center; you have web analytics on the website. There’s probably social media analytics from Facebook or Twitter that is typically housed in different databases or containers. The key here is to be able to bring all that together and use smart, robust analytics to uncover things like possible opportunities, the right marketing action to take and impacts on the business beyond marketing.

Another best practice is integrating unstructured and real-time data and analytics to the overall dataset. Most of the data that comes from marketing is in some kind of a structured form; for instance, you know they’re clicking through a campaign page or they’re responding to an e-mail or a tweet. But then there is a vast model of what we call unstructured, pliable data that’s changing the social media world. It’s just up there and freely flowing, so applying advanced analytics and models that can extract preferences, opinions and influences—and then adding that to your overall analytics—is very valuable.

Finally, you should ask how do you take your analytics and data and map it to your marketing process? That’s where a lot of companies tend to fall short, and that’s where integrated marketing management can be useful. The more data that you can align into your own marketing-planning process the better that will be.

The typical marketing-management process, has about four phases. You have planning and strategy, setting the right focuses for your customer interactions and campaign. Second, you have the information analytics that provide you with directions in terms of what you would do for marketing. You have the outbound pieces, the orchestration of all the campaign. And the last piece is customer experience. So if you could align the planning, analytics, campaign orchestration and customer experience aspects, and then apply the analytics relevantly across these business processes, then you’re able to get a little bit closer to the integrated marketing management paradigm. 

To download a white paper of the full interview, click here.

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