According to a 2019 McKinsey report, 83% of CEOs say marketing has become one of the key drivers for enterprise growth. But how does it work in reality? On an operational level, people still believe marketing is the first budget to be sacrificed when profitability slumps. The marketing budget is often reduced to improve the firm’s overall financial results in the short term.

50% of marketers say they struggle to demonstrate their quantitative impact according to a 2020 Gartner Marketing Data and Analytics Report. Having held multiple senior marketing leadership positions myself, I have firsthand experience with this struggle.

I am thrilled that nowadays marketers have strong, reliable data to prove their value and impact. They can specify how actual revenues are driven through marketing campaigns and calculate the respective ROI of specific channels. By taking advantage of real-time data, augmented through artificial intelligence, marketers can adjust campaign, advertisement and agency spending in real time.

Investments in innovative technology drive enormous efficiencies. But how many marketing departments are following the call to digitize their processes?

To be a true partner for the CEO, marketers need to dive deeper into numbers. To achieve this, here are three areas that provide CMOs unparalleled opportunities to make their case, crystallizing the value that marketing contributes to manifest significant revenue growth for B2B and B2C:

  • Harvest significant cost savings through operational efficiency in marketing
  • Focus on measurable dimensions of customer centricity in a cookie-free world
  • Generate incremental revenues through real-time AI-driven analytics and campaign steering

Harvest significant cost savings through operational efficiency in marketing

While the merits of creativity in marketing remain undoubted, efficiency plays a vital role in the complex orchestration of marketing tools and assets. Marketing organizations can gain efficiency by questioning processes to find more ways to leverage technology.

Having an online collaboration tool embedded within your digital asset management software provides the backbone of the workflow, providing the ability to track each change request, each piece of feedback, and each change executed along the complete workflow. This transparency leads to significant cost savings in agency fees.

CMOs should also consider evaluating the opportunities to industrialize the creation of standard marketing assets such as landing pages and banners. Pre-configured templates enable marketers to launch a campaign or a promotion in a matter of hours versus days or weeks.

Focus on measurable dimensions of customer centricity in a cookie-free world

As the focus shifts from third-party cookies towards primary data, marketing requires the collection of data and preferences from all channels in one single system. Turning to a first-party, data-led multichannel marketing strategy requires marketers to customize content with the help of marketing technology and innovation. Marketers need to create a continuum of feedback and analysis to improve and maximize use of valuable data from multiple sources, including sales, actual experiences, real-time analytics and customer service data.

To leverage this set of diverse information for marketing campaigns, you must enrich it with attributes related to algorithms and powered by artificial intelligence. Intelligent marketing campaign design and marketing platforms allow truly customized content to be automatically created and shared with the customer via the preferred channel of communication.

Generate incremental revenues through real-time AI-driven analytics and campaign steering

Only 54% of marketing decisions are influenced by analytics, and CMOs are often slow to adapt to data-driven decisions and recommendations, according to a 2021 Forrester Global Marketing Study. Many marketing departments still need days or weeks to compile reliable data. The shift to relying on a combination of data from multiple sources, along with the improvement of cross-channel attribution, is paramount to fully understanding customers and the market.

A good system constantly monitors the results based on classic marketing KPIs, ROI and revenues. Underlying negative trends can be identified before they have an impact on marketing campaigns, revenues or business in general. This leads to a more objective, predictive and proactive approach to data discovery, automatically identifying patterns and trends that humans may never uncover. It can unveil bias within data sets stemming from unconscious human preconceptions or flawed data collection techniques, helping to avoid a negative performance impact.

By mirroring the customer journey, attribution modeling reveals which parts of the experience customers prefer and which parts need to be enhanced.


Though CMOs face several challenges, they are now in a unique position to manage marketing like a business operation. Digitalization allows them to harvest significant cost savings by implementing efficient and seamless processes within the marketing team. Additionally, partnering with creative and media agencies frees up resources and allows for significant cost savings. Addressing the skill gap unlocks the full potential of data and technology.

Aligning all campaign data and introducing real time analytics unleashes incremental revenues. If the data and customization strategy is in place and aligned with the business objectives, CMOs can set their companies apart from competitors, increase NPSs significantly, and create stable brand loyalty. Now is the time that CMOs, along with their teams and partners, can respond to the CEO’s call to identify new areas of enterprise growth.

Put customer experience at the center of your business with IBM iX


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