If marketing was a crime… we should all be criminals today

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As a proud Bulgarian I am deliberately borrowing the title of the best performing European song “If love was a crime” at the Eurovision song contest that ended last Saturday. We saw the Bulgarian song scoring #4 and the best in Europe almost unexpectedly – thanks to the votes from thousands of Europeans from 42 countries and despite the jury score which was placing it only in top 10.

As a proud IBM South East Europe (SEE) CMO, I am using this example as I believe it best describes the outcomes from a decade long profound transformation in our profession. Which, by the way isn’t stopping, but intensifying.

A marketer today could kill (and yes, I am exaggerating just because of the story) to have an outcome similar to the one scored by the song. We all aim at campaigns that drive:

  • immediate client engagement & satisfaction. For example, thousands of people voted for Poli Genova’s song despite jury’s vote. In a more general note, a recent SEE CMO survey conducted by IDC revealed that increasing customer satisfaction and experience is a priority for 95% of respondents.
  • innovation fueling positive and long lasting client experience. People enjoyed the song and even the exotic outfit. Increasing innovation capability and decision making was another priority cited by as much as 80 percent of SEE CMOs in the IDC survey.
  • turn marketing into real results and revenue – #4 at Eurovision
  • with a fraction of the budget that competitors are using – very true for Bulgarian National Television.

Yet, unlike the case with the song, there are some challenges in front of the SEE CMOs that prevent them from being as fast as Poli Genova in generating great results with less budget. As the IDC survey points, lack of the necessary information to make marketing decisions represents an important challenge for almost half (43%) of the marketing leaders in SEE surveyed.

How come? We create 2.5 quintillion bytes (2.5 trillion gigabytes) of data every day yet we don’t have enough to make decisions? Do we need more?

Trying to read even a 1.7 MB a day – this is the new information that will be created every second for every human being on the planet by 2020 – would make us all victims of data. Instead, we need to learn how to “listen” to it, because data is only as good as the intelligence we can get from it. For example, IBM clients adopting data analytics are already gaining significant lead over peers.

So what is next for us – marketers in South East Europe?

Let us leave criminal and love scenarios to songs, but remember one thing from the Eurovision story: today we live and act in a globally networked environment. The proliferation of mobile and social technologies in the era of big data has created billions of digitally empowered consumers who are changing how they consume and share information, as well as how they want to experience products, services and brands. They can act as consumers, clients, influencers and even marketers.

If we as professional marketers want to tap on this new type of consumer to step up in new uncharted territories, we need to get smart about technologies without losing the personal touch.

How do we do that?

Certainly we don’t have all the answers yet, but the direction is already clear and it is cognitive.

In the cognitive era data that was previously invisible to systems can be captured and analyzed to generate new insights. Technologies like IBM Watson are helping digital things to “learn”. This represents a chance for every organization to gain new markets, transform industries, build new models, cure cancer, fulfill dreams. This is a huge chance for us to put our profession right at the heart of our organization. The journey to cognitive is about to start in South East Europe.

As a proud IBM SEE CMO I am delighted that for the first time in the region IBM is initiating this conversation with the leaders from the region at the first ever IBM SEE BusinessConnect event to be held in Budapest on May 30-31.

Have you registered? Hurry up, the places are limited.


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