Sunday, 21 August 2016

Looking Back at Predictions for 2016 -- Certainly 'Big Data' Has Gotten Far Too Much Attention!

In looking back on Kimberly A. Whitler's Forbes article from November of 2015 titled "CEOs, CMOs, And Executive Recruiters Make Predictions For Marketing Leaders in 2016" I commented:

Interesting list. Lots of crossover with out much ‘distilling’ of what the key points/themes and insights might be. I agree with most, a couple that I cannot. An ‘Executive Summary’ in just four points:

Big Data’ Analysis & Leveraging

Has to be faster, more relevant to specific brand issues, implemented on a target by target basis in ways that are meaningful to them. (Just because something is relatively new, like the accessibility of ‘big data’ recently, does not make it scary or ‘THE LATEST NEW THING’ for business people to freak out about, any more that ‘social’ deserved this type of attention for the past decade.) Due to SEO the industry now has the capability to generate relevant mathematical algorithms to effectively extract actionable insights from the newly available data. The current hyperventilating in the marketing industry’s media has to be taken down several notches.

CMO as Manager of Change, Transparency & Conversation

This has always has been the case as CMOs are closer to the day-to-day, ever-evolving lives of the consumer than any other department is, but CEOs need to empower the CMO (or CSO, Chief Strategy Officer) to take on this role as the leader within the C-Suite since only through the mandate
of this responsibility will the CFO, CTO, etc. give up their attempts at fufilling this role. The CMO then has to employ strong consultants to help them analyse and execute internal change to keep up with today’s ever-changing marketplace.

In this role as Manager of Change, both internally (vertically and horizontally) and externally (both to suppliers and customers), the CMO will have to embrace all that today’s customer-centric marketplace demands both at the brand and corporate level: transparency (meaning deep involvement in generating both valued products and features and ensuring that they are actually delivered) and a willingness and effective channels to converse with individuals both internally and externally (social media tools), and on the back of these two mandates,

“Bridging the Traditional Sales/Marketing Divide

Through ‘sales enabling’ the CMO can play a bigger role, in part by leveraging Big Data and sales force feedback in real time, in making the sales force into ‘Brand Ambassadors’ out in the field. There is untold value to be found in doing this and Sales & Merchandising outsourcing firms can aid in uncovering it, providing the budgets are freed up to pay for the necessary time and technology required by the sales force. (See ‘consultant support’ above.)

Holistic ‘Engagement Marketing’ Efforts, NOT a New CDO Role

The steady onslaught of new media platforms and new digital technologies are now a way of life. We have seen the birth and death of various new social media, but what stands out is that, because something is understood to be ‘social’ -- just as the telephone is a social medium -- doing ‘push marketing’ in it is fraught. People do not like being interrupted in the midst of socializing by paid advertising.

Managing what works and what doesn’t in terms of new media is NOT a C-Suite function, it is a function that falls under the CMO in one realm and the CFO and CTO in theirs. Each department needs smart people to explore, monitor and analyze new tech and platforms and help judge their value. Their input on value then needs to be critically analysed for ROI potential by their C-Suite bosses and filtered of hyper-enthusiasm for mere ‘newness’.

There is zero need for a new C-suite function of a CDO (Chief Digital Officer who would be in direct competition with the CMO), although there is some point in considering installing a CSO (Chief Strategy Officer) to maintain a laser focus on why and what the firm should do next (see ‘Change Manager’ point above). The marketplace has now matured, after some 30 years of embracing the Internet, to the point where both brand new digital AND EXISTING social (PR), above/below-the-line and placement/sponsorship platforms are all on equal footing as viable options in the media mix for any brand’s marketing efforts.

What has finally emerged from all the experimentation in pay-for-click, banner and ‘social media marketing’, etc. is that in today’s now mature ‘Experience Economy’ there is only one key element in the mix that no brand’s marketing plan can leave out, and that is experiential, face-to-face trial efforts. What every brand needs is to start with a goal of developing an ‘Engagement Marketing Plan’ that begins with experiential efforts to deliver personal, real-time exposure to the brand, followed up with awareness-building, shopper marketing and follow-up loyalty-encouraging efforts.

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