CMO’s work. Hard. And long. To be effective, we become immersed in the combination of our business dynamics, the fast-changing marketing landscape, and the science of data analytics and behavioral studies. The work is consuming. It is rare for us to take a break – even a short vacation. And so it was with a great deal of anticipation, enthusiasm (and a little fear) that I embarked on a year of doing somethings completely different, following my last CMO position. (Hence the dearth of my posts over the past year)
That’s not to say I was lounging around the pool (although there was a bit of that). Rather, I took this rare opportunity to explore some fascinating and recent developments in the science of marketing. I expanded my perspective on other cultures by traveling. I revved up my game by completing my Masters of Science in International Marketing with a ton of digital marketing research, experimentation, and practicum. I reconnected with family, friends, and colleagues in a way that most people seldom have the time or opportunity. I consulted with companies outside of my normal milieu.
And I emerge from that year the better marketer. Better prepared for the changes endemic to the way consumers, business decision makers, influencers, and buyers all experience and control their dialog with a brand.
I discovered that, in some ways, the old is the new. For example, there has always been content (messaging and creative) in marketing. “Content Marketing” is a new way to wrap science, discipline, and analytics around that content, and then deliver it in “close to real-time” ways through multiple channels of communication.
In other ways, the new really is the new. People now control more than 60% of their communications channels through technologies including social media, DVR’s, and other time-shifting tools. Its been estimated that potential customers have completed more than 50% of their research in the buying process before they even get to your web site.
Of course, one area that continues to receive a lot of attention is metrics and measurement. That’s because most digital marketing tools come with metrics capabilities and online conversion optimization support. Yet, surprisingly, only 26% of companies recently surveyed have an actual structured approach to conversion optimization. So, our capabilities to use the tools, the organizational support for them, and our own internal processes have not yet caught up with the fundamental capabilities of those tools.
To me, these trends spell opportunity. Opportunity to restructure, reorganize, and reengineer the processes that drive implementation of our digital marketing programs in new and exciting ways. To do so, focus first on understanding the alignment between your marketing efforts and the corporate goals. Then, and only, then, refine or implement processes that support that alignment. Finally, build an org structure that allows your organization to take advantage of the tools you use in more and better ways.