The average user has 65 apps on his or her phone.
A recent article in Advertising Age (“When CMOs Learn to Love Data, They'll Be VIPs in the C-Suite”) provides some empirical support for an idea we’ve strongly suggested in the past: Marketers need to support their decisions with data if they hope to play a serious role in their organization’s future. (See “If You Want the CEO’s Attention, Stop Talking Like a Marketer”)
The article warned that chief marketing officers (or CMOs) who fail to use the new analytical tools at their disposal to take charge of customer information will be relegated to “chief promotions officers.” What’s needed, the article concludes, is a partnership between CIOs (chief information officer, or head of information technology) and CMOs.
“CMOs have historically been the brand stewards. This is an opportunity to be a customer steward," the article quotes Forrester analyst Dave Frankland as saying. "If they don't do it, someone else will."
Ad Age quotes Gartner analyst Laura McLellan as saying that by 2017 CMOs will spend more on IT than their counterpart CIOs. On Gartner’s own site, McLellan’s presentation indicates that 96 percent of the respondents have adopted or will adopt customer relationship management (CRM) technology within the next two years. Numbers were almost as high for digital marketing (96 percent), marketing automation (93 percent) and customer analytics (87 percent).
Frankland also is quoted in the Ad Age article as noting that there are few companies who will not be using technology to enhance their ability to gather and crunch consumer data. The challenge, he noted, will be in integrating the data and mining insights that give them “credibility and validity to go alongside their hunch and expertise.” Forrester, the article says, is now proclaiming the arrival of the age of the customer.
One of the marketers interviewed in the article noted that while marketing formerly required casting a wide net and hoping for the best, we have developed the ability to target much more narrowly. “Now, we have a laser focus,” said Avaya CMO Dan Murphy.
"The only sustainable competitive advantage is knowledge of and engagement with customers," the magazine quoted Forrester analyst Josh Bernoff as saying. "Brand, manufacturing, distribution and IT are all table stakes. The only source of competitive advantage is the one that can survive technology-fueled disruption, an obsession with understanding, delighting, connecting with and serving customers. In this age, companies that thrive ... are those that tilt their budgets toward customer knowledge and relationships."
Respondents to the Gartner study also said that marketing is becoming more strategic in their organizations and will continue to advance. On a scale of 1 to 7 (with one as “marketing is tactical support” and 7 being “marketing is strategic”), the study showed marketing moving from a slightly less than dead-center rating (3.2) two years ago to a strong 4.8 now and a robust 5.9 in two years.
And while these sources lean heavily toward B2C, the same forces of measurement and accountability are at work in the B2B arena. It may take longer for the technology to scale to the appropriate size for the B2B market. However, the long selling cycles and higher lifetime values make customer-centric approaches even more attractive for B2B in the long run. And thus speed their adoption.