Don’t let all the customer data you have available to you get in the way of using it to its fullest marketing potential.
In the old days (“old” as in a mere decade ago), marketing managers usually only touched computers to check emails or do research on the web. Customer data, feedback, and numbers still came back via focus groups, and the IT department remained firmly entrenched in their own silo.
Today, technology and marketing go hand-in-hand. You can track numbers from literally every campaign and every avenue, and connectivity is a 24/7 thing. For CMOs, marketing drives technology and vice versa. Mobile is the first screen, and really the only screen. Consumers walk around with their smartphones as if they are appendages. Even more so with mobile, marketing leaders have the ability to see what’s happening in real-time and react quickly with data-backed human decision-making in an effort to reach their consumers. The good news is that the ability to deploy, evaluate and pivot is faster than ever before. But this is also bad news, as it creates greater complexity that can be difficult to understand quickly.
Understanding technology and working hand-in-hand with your engineering and product teams to see what’s possible and what’s important to innovate becomes a critical piece of the job. Marketing is a combination of art and science. It can be a tricky balancing act, but here are three tips I rely on to cultivate a strategy to stay on top.
Tip 1: Leverage the Sensible Option
In the digital business world, the age-old adage of “knowledge is power” has never hit closer to home. That knowledge is now in the form of data collected from every outlet and distributed to every device. But according to a recent report by Millard Brown Digital, “only 14 percent of marketers express confidence in their organization’s ability to use the data available to them.” Today’s data can come at an overwhelming rate, which makes things feel unwieldy. Instead, it’s best to consider your resources and whittle down your data crunching to the details that truly drive your business. More simply, as Xerox CMO John Kennedy aptly states, “Your company’s technology stack should be practical.”
Ask questions: Where are your customers? Are you expanding internationally? If so, you need a technology that can help you scale in different markets, such as a publisher that needs to push multi-language and time zone content from a central location or a mobile marketing campaign that allows you to reach each region in a culturally relevant way. Another important consideration that requires data: How will you measure success? Be thoughtful in your approach and position yourself for scalable success.
Tip 2: Have a Focus
Technology options serve just about every niche these days. This is great when mining for obscure metrics, but the sheer volume of data can create confusion, even contradictions. Success can mean different things in different channels. So for example, you should look at engagement metrics as more than just point-of-sale purchase metrics. Education and focus will help guide decisions and priorities, and serve as a compass to your organization — and ultimately your customers. If the entire organization agrees on the purpose, it’s much easier to drive decisions with staff and gain stakeholder buy-in across the organization.
Tip 3: Let Customers Guide Your Way
You know your core demographic best, so use technology to cater to them. Are they more likely to use their smartphones? Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Do they favor one social media platform over another? Get your staff ready to maximize engagement there. Will they use an app over a web browser? Talk to your IT department about the possibilities. Technology offers many options and demographics tend to play favorites, so understand your customer and listen to their needs. That way, you can serve and engage them in the most relevant way.
Putting It All Together
By following these three tips, you should have a strong sense of your technology needs, desired metrics, demographic preferences, social media platforms and mobile connectivity among staff members. While the modern-day CMO doesn’t have to know the ins and outs of installing and troubleshooting these things, understanding the how and why behind them has become critical to the job.
Fortunately, user friendliness is a driving factor in technology design these days. If you’re a CMO with a hint of technophobia, it’s best to jump right in. The information you begin to get about your customers and markets will do plenty to ease any lingering anxiety you may have about the digital business age.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses..
Image credit: CC by Rosaura Ochoa