From the Experts: A Future Look at Marketing?

Mark Nardone

Digital-savvy CMOs are becoming invaluable to their company’s overall brand strategy. So what harsh realities does this bring to incumbent CMOs without digital chops? PAN recently hosted a roundtable focusing entirely on digital disruption and pain points facing today’s Chief Marketing Officer. The panel included John Dragoon (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Mark Organ (Influitive and founder of Eloqua), and Jeff Bussgang (Flybridge Capital Partners.) Forrester’s Lori Wizdo moderated and took us through a riveting discussion ranging from pain points like platform wars and skill gaps to automation and personalization.

Here are several issues CMOs are grappling with and thoughts on what they’ll do in the next six months:

  1. Data Silos: Silos are endemic in business and hardly new. Not surprisingly, the influx of data (and sharing data) has become silo-ed too. Panelist Jeff Bussgang explained that many organizations separate their traditional and offline teams from their online teams, thus creating silos: “The data is silo-ed - the customer is not silo-ed anymore. The customer is checking you out on their phone, logging in, and then showing up at your store. You've got to have all of that integrated into one simple view.” Information from varied data silos must be synced to apply customer reactions to marketing content and vice versa. It’s all about targeted and personalized content to create the true customer experience.
  2. Content vs. Engagement. These days, customers are concerned with WHO they are buying, not just WHAT they buy. The brand persona is everything (at least to the consumer) and impactful community management and engagement is critical to building trust and the bottom line. But there is still a place for publishing compelling content. How does one cut through the clutter and create valuable content in a data-driven, information overloaded society? Knowing your customer and personalizing content specific to their behavior or needs are two winning strategies. Listening, monitoring, engaging and understanding points of interest will separate your brand from the pack. Don’t be generic – be memorable.
  3. Is Marketing Automation Dead? Or are we still transforming? Are “push” emails outdated in today’s age of connectivity and personalization? No. But marketers must be savvy enough to recognize competing platforms offering similar “best-of” services still rooted in push-only solutions. Platform wars don’t make navigation any easier – even organizations that may offer more engagement-based solutions. Marketers must become savvy on relationship-driven solutions and question their current platforms.
  4. CMO, CDO or CMDO? Digital Disruption has led to a shift in roles. Does a CMO need deep domain experience; can they become specialists with a set of skills? One of our panelists mentioned that a CMO is more like a general these days. They must have a baseline understanding of different competencies, such as creative design elements. However, the CMO must also hire an army of people who are proficient at those specialized skills in order to keep up relevant engagement with customers across channels of mobile, web, display, etc.

When I look at the marketing team of the future, I recall Mark Organ who said, “I think a lot of marketing departments are going to have PhD’s in statistics… But there’s also a place for the engagement expert who is highly emotive... how do we get all these talented people to work together on a really effective team?”

Collaboration starts from the top-down and begins yesterday. Marketing leaders must incorporate traditional and digital elements into their team and throughout their work in order to close the digital and marketing gap. Some will be hired on staff, some outsourced to professionals. But all working as ONE.

Thanks again to all involved with the CMO Roundtable including our esteemed moderator and panelists. Visit our YouTube Channel for highlights and a full-length video of the CMO Roundtable.


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