Insight with Experts: The Evolution of the Customer Experience with Jake Sorofman, part 2

Mark Nardone

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Our EVP Mark Nardone recently (@MarkCNardone) sat down with Jake Sorofman (@jakesorofman), research vice president of Gartner. A series of questions were asked pertaining to recent digital marketing trends being uncovered from his current experience and research as a digital marketer and analyst.

Below Jake discusses his expert perceptions on the future of data-driven decision making, customer engagement and the continued importance of maintaining a creative marketing approach.

With the abundance of data available for today’s Modern Marketers, you’ve highlighted the “data-driven myopia.” Can you provide some key points marketers should be addressing around data?

For as much we talk about big data, most companies still have small data problems. They haven’t made use of the first-party customer data they already own. Before marketers drink from the big data fire hose, they should first get their customer data in order. Also, while data-driven insights can be powerful, it can also blind us to bigger shifts happening around us. It can drive incremental thinking where we end up tweaking and tuning the dials while our competitors are fundamentally rethinking industries. Many of these insights didn’t come from data.

Customer economics continues to be a subject of discussion. What should CMOs be prepared to evaluate and forecast for better engagement, understanding and success with their customers?

Always have a bias toward your highest value customers. Identify the customers that contribute disproportionately to profitable revenue and study their needs, motivations and goals. Invest in serving them well to deepen the relationship and then go out and find more of the same!

What are some of the trends you see coming at the CMO in 2016/2017? Are there specific blind spots they should be prepared to tackle?

CMOs shouldn’t forget the importance of great creative. All the precision targeting in the world is only as good as what you have to say. We shouldn’t overcorrect on the science side of the discipline.

In your experience working with so many CMOs, what are a few crossovers from B2C and B2B marketing efforts?

B2B marketing has always depended on a large amount of data about a relatively small number of customers. B2C marketing was just the opposite: a thin layer of data about lots and lots of customers. In a sense, the disciplines are blurring: B2C marketers have much more data and B2B marketers are forced to be more inspiring and human to rise above the noise. One of my favorite quotes about B2B marketing comes from the CMO of SAP. He said, in effect, we’re not selling to large glass buildings. We’re selling to human beings. In a sense, the exact same rules apply.

In Part 1 of this series Jake dove deeper into the future of digital marketing trends and challenges. Learn more about why customer demands are scoping the role of the CMO here.

Bio: Jake Sorofman (@jakesorofman) is the research vice president of Gartner. He analyzes digital marketing strategies, trends and practices. He focuses on customer experience and content marketing and helps clients use these techniques to engage customers, evangelize their brands, grow revenue and transform their business.

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