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The 10 CMO strategies that should be every marketer’s goal

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Get in touch with an expert on digital strategy: Paul Papas, Leader, IBM Interactive Experience

Aggregating quantitative and qualitative insights from a variety of sources, THINK Leaders has put together a list of 10 strategies that data-driven chief marketing officers are deploying to maintain a competitive edge.

Our sources range from a research brief co-created with the CMO Club, IBM Commerce and IBM’s Center for Applied Insights; an on-going research panel co-hosted by IBM’s Institute for Business Value, the Economist Intelligence Unit and THINK Leaders; and the bi-annual CMO Study published by IBM’s Institute for Business Value. We also have taken into consideration interviews with CMOs and senior marketing executives around the world, including those with our THINK Leaders Pacesetters.

Marketing in a data-focused world
These strategies are already deployed by CMOs who make the most of our data-driven age, when customers are engaging with brands via web sites and mobile apps—and supplying constant, real-time and traceable interactions that can turn into insights. These forward-thinking CMOs use the convergence of digital and physical interactions to revolutionize the customer experience (as 84% of top-performing CMOs said they are intent on creating); they pioneer innovations and new business models to reap first-to-market advantages; and they analyze data from all sources (both structured and unstructured, as in social media) to use the insights derived to transform into a truly customer-centric organization.

Ten ways to succeed in marketing today
Below are the 10 strategies. Let us know in the comments how you and your organization are using any one or any combination of them. We may reach out to you to author an article for your CMO peers.

1. Design and automate the customer experience. Research shows that when marketers think digitally and create more self-serve systems for customers, profitability and customer retention increases. (See our how-to article here.)

2. Acquire and grow customer relationships. In our recent survey of more than 330 CMOs and senior marketing executives, 62% said that “attract new customers” is the most important metric for gauging their engagement strategy.

3. Dynamically serve up relevant content. As Laurie Hood, VP of Marketing at Silverpop (an IBM company) blogged recently, today’s CMOs and senior marketing executives are challenged with creating increasingly personalized content that’s consumable via digital, always-on channels, and the most successful ones are taking on the challenge head-on.

4. Enhance customer digital strategy. “The purchaser won’t buy what you do, but how you do it,” says Pete Krainik, founder of the CMO Club. Think digitally, and as Krainik advises, invite “instant and innovation” into the field of marketing.

5. Increase speed and agility. This means working with cloud-based programs so that teams can work at any place, at any time. 63% of CMOs surveyed in the 2016 CMO Study from the IBV said cloud computing and services was the top technology that would “have a huge impact” on their firms.

6. Identify and design new offerings. In the same study mentioned above, we found that “almost 4 in 5 companies that we surveyed are planning to have IoT applications in the field in the next 12 months. Similarly, almost 60 percent of respondents are piloting virtual showrooms and nearly half are getting ready to implement 3D printing.”

7. Be first to market. In the 2016 CMO Study, 72% of CMOs at top-performing companies said they are focusing “on reaching the market first.”

8. Get real-time insights into market trends. Cognitive systems, which use natural language and machine learning capabilities to reason and learn at scale, can pull data from over 10,000 sources including social media and comments as they are posted online—and can be a competitive advantage, as Marsha Collier, best-selling author and e-Commerce expert, blogged recently.

9. Establish marketing and business performance dashboards. Ogilvy’s chief data officer Todd Cullen shared with us how the agency has found efficiencies and new product ideas as a result of building such dashboards. You can read his success story here.

10. Get deep insights into customer experiences across channels. Recent research from IBM Commerce, in collaboration with the CMO Club and IBM’s Center for Applied Insights, shows that 20% of marketers we surveyed say that they are investing across channels including digital ones because they can more quickly measure customer satisfaction.


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