The marketing function has been transformed like no other by data and digitalisation, leaving chief marketing officers faced with a delicate balancing act between creative and data-driven campaigns
SPONSORED BY Treasure Data
Digitalisation, driven particularly by the wide availability of data, is a trend that every organisation has had to embrace in some way to keep up with changing customer expectations and to evolve successfully as a business. This has impacted all C-suite roles, but none more so than the functional expertise required of a chief marketing officer (CMO).
CMOs have traditionally come from a branding background and been regarded as the primary source of creative thinking in the upper echelons of company management. Marketing is therefore usually portrayed as a right-brain cognitive activity, as opposed to left-brain activity which infers more analytical thinking. When the latter has been required, such as for segmentation, CMOs have often depended on outside agencies.
The need to transform digitally and maximise the value from customer data means companies can no longer regard marketing as principally right-brain activity. Marketers now need to make decisions based on data, which is recalibrating the balance between creative and data-driven marketing.
Whereas businesses previously thought about their market as a very wide funnel and had only modest ability to track the return on investment of their marketing strategies, the power of analytics and personalisation has enabled companies to target a much narrower funnel and spend their marketing budget more effectively.
“The skillset required in a successful CMO is changing and the right and left-brain dynamic has to be identified for the future,” says Andrea Weiss, founder of The O Alliance consulting firm and an adviser to Treasure Data, a customer data platform (CDP) provider.
“CMOs have to be able to achieve the capability of both creative and analytical marketing. It’s rare that an individual has both as a strong suit, but CMOs can achieve a healthy balance by putting together a talented team and utilising a set of tools which allow them to get the analytics right in-house.
“Going outside to a third party to analyse your data and then come back with models and programmatic solutions is just not viable for an agile marketer. You’ve got to have toolkits you can use in-house and that traditional marketing executives can use to complement their right-brain dominance and to enable today’s increasingly left-brain analytical marketing teams. It’s one of the greatest opportunities for reaching new customers and engaging with them in new ways.”
It’s one of the greatest opportunities for reaching new customers and engaging with them in a new way
To take advantage of this opportunity, it’s important companies are able to unify customer data from across the organisation. As online interactions with consumers have grown, the resulting data in many businesses has ended up residing in various disjointed buckets depending on how each customer relationship began. Often they sit in a data warehouse or traditional cloud platform that was only ever intended to be a repository. Meanwhile, the number of devices consumers are now using has led to over-marketing, resulting in churn, opt-outs and alienated customers.
The ability to identify customers, understand where they consume information and how many touchpoints are needed before they are ready to transact is vitally important and helps solve very specific business problems. That requires a CDP such as Treasure Data, which enables companies to take in and integrate data from multiple sources to understand how their customers are interacting with their brand and products. The platform enables organisations to engage with the right person, on the channels they prefer, with the right message, supported by analytics and segmentation.
“Treasure Data has led the way in defining what a customer data platform looks like,” says Weiss. “It can ingest a tremendous amount of data from various sources and not only cleanse it but also really begin to make it useful. This is something that used to take, in some cases, months or even years to do. With Treasure Data, companies see almost immediate results, which is a great advantage for CMOs in the digital age, allowing them to successfully combine their creativity with analytics.”
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