13 Jul 2013

The challenges and opportunities facing the CMO in this age of ‘on-demand’ Digital Marketing are enormous and, at times, can leave the CMO feeling overwhelmed.

By Nectari Charitakis, COO, TDG

Companies need to be agile to keep pace with changing technology and consumer purchasing behavior. CMOs need to show strong leadership by seamlessly interweaving their company’s business and marketing strategy with ever-expanding digital innovation that address not only the web but also mobile, social, local and whatever future innovation is around the corner.

The Digital Marketing industry and its plethora of acronyms is similar to a secret society that only those who know the secret handshake and language gain admittance. What we forget is that the role of the CMO is to create a vision for their company and to provide leadership to the organization to deliver to the vision. The CMO and their marketing team find themselves in the center of where the enterprise meets the customer, where revenues must be generated, and where customer value maximization has to be achieved.

The CMO knows this; it’s Marketing 101. However, on the one hand the media consumption is becoming much more fragmented and increasingly complex, while, on the other hand, Marketing is under pressure to demonstrate a direct link with business results. It is our role as ‘digital experts’ to bring easy to understand digital strategies that will help the CMO to execute against their business imperatives.

Instead of talking about RTB, SEO, and floating banners we need to be advising the CMO about the path to the customer. It is our role to help the CMO to deliver value to empowered customers, to establish lasting relationships and to measure the ROI of their marketing efforts. The technology and underlining tools are here. It’s our responsibility to keep it simple and make it easy for CMOs to analyze and measure the results of their efforts.

Five things Digerati have to do

-Speak in business terms and work to understand both the implicit and explicit needs of a marketing organization.

-Help CMOs cut through the complexity and understand what is really important to them, i.e. “the KPIs and how best to achieve them”. By creating an actionable framework that is based on consumer insights, value adding marketing actions and proper tracking & attribution of ROI.

-Enable CMOs to understand that the attribution model, ‘the path to the customer’, is complex and requires an integrated strategy that drives brand engagement and loyalty by weaving conversations with customers, across multiple touch points, and throughout the decision-making process. How? With direct response strategies such as inbound and content marketing to drive higher conversions.

-Be opinionated! CMOs need some guidance on what to do. Our recommendations should be clear and simple followed by a pragmatic implementation plan.

-Finally, Marketing is there to support Sales. Therefore, if possible engage the Head of Sales in the conversation so that they can contribute to the process and ensure that Marketing’s activity will have a direct impact to the bottom line.

What the CMOs need to bear in mind

-First and foremost, make sure you don’t lose the forest for the tree! Translate business objectives into marketing KPIs… understand how Consumer Behavior differs on each channel and how all of them together need to be integrated… how the marketing KPIs are translated in each and every channel.

-Segment your market and use the most appropriate channel to reach your audience. For example, Social Media dominates the 14-39 year old segment. If this is your target audience, then your brand must leverage the reach Social and Online Media offer.

-Stop being boring and create ways to engage your consumers with meaningful and appealing interactions. Remember that a truly great ad campaign is driven by a Big Idea that contains a memorable slogan and a memorable visual. But today a mere visual is not enough, we are inundated with so much advertising that it all becomes a blur. So, use rich media videos that are engaging and captivating, thus helping you to separate your message form the rest.

-Use technology and data analytic tools to assist you in collecting and analyzing the relationship between your company’s sales uplift and marketing spend, across each medium. I was always driven mad and wanted to avoid business reviews with the Head of Sales or Finance when the topic of discussion was ‘so what did you deliver with the marketing budget’? Life is much easier these days thanks to the data analytic tools and the technology that are currently available. For, all these allow us to measure accurately our KPIs, but equally important, to observe and better understand how our target audience interacted with our advertising campaigns and what their attribution was.

So, which side are you on and which of the abovementioned suggestions do you consider to the point?