Customer engagement comes of age. For years there has been a misconception of what Branding is all about. The Page Group has always believed that the role of all senior marketing personal in this complex marketing arena is to focus on the consumer. It is all about the consumers connection to the brand, It is all about customer experience. Marketing now focus directly on all activities that the consumer uses to connect with the brand, and to define a relationship in a more one on one customer relationship to be successful in today’s highly complex marketing arena. So we have always focused on better understanding the consumer before we ever begin planning the campaigns, because you must be on target to succeed.
Customer Engagement is King
The traditional CMO role is dead: long live the chief customer officer
The traditional chief marketing officer (CMO) role is dead. Businesses that relegate the marketing department to that of just brand and awareness are missing two pillars that are changing the role of marketing and its chief officer forever.
Instead, a new role is emerging that is organised around the customer. Whether this position wears the title of chief customer officer, chief client officer, or chief experience officer, it has one clear focus – customer engagement.
Forward thinking CMOs are evolving from simple data capture and batch-and-blast marketing tactics to develop customer intimacy, driving deeper and lasting consumer engagement. In our recent report, 84% of people believe customer engagement will overtake productivity as the primary driver of growth.
A company’s digital marketing strategy must be aligned around optimising each unique ‘customer moment’. But what can CMOs do to gain the competitive advantage and ride this new marketing innovation wave of customer engagement?
Embrace digital marketing; embrace technology
According to Gartner, by 2017 the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO. Marketing departments are purchasing significant amounts of technology and services from their own capital and expense budgets. Why? Because social media and other digital channels mean customer demands are increasing. Consumers are using their voice to drive changes in product development. They are also becoming advocates for new customers. Customer expectations are however always changing and businesses must keep up, or risk being left behind.
These additional marketing channels are only one aspect of the new digital frontier facing today’s CMO – the second is automation. Modern marketing executives must respond to this rapidly changing landscape. The rise of marketing tools for search marketing, as well as marketing automation platforms like Eloqua and Marketo, have compounded the marketing technology landscape. Marketers now have so many customer engagement tools at their disposal that identifying and leveraging the correct technology can be overwhelming.
The number of marketing technology solutions has nearly tripled in the past 16 months and it’s growing every day. Marketers need to look at how they can harness these innovative technologies to automate tasks, predict behaviour, and leverage the insight to really guide the customer across their journey, while keeping headcount and budgets in-line. To put it simply, without automation, marketers will be out-innovated by more modern marketing pioneers. The new CMO embraces technology as a competitive advantage to develop intimacy with the customer, which was previously too costly or even unattainable.
Become the customer advocate, harness data and breakdown silos
The modern marketing executive is the aggregator of all things ‘customer’. It’s not just understanding the customer persona, but understanding how they progress through a company’s buying journey from beginning to end.
The data is there, locked in the depths of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. Tomorrow’s CMOs are harnessing all available data across departmental silos, giving their customers the intimacy they require and maximising each interaction.
Marketing leaders must focus on driving customer obsession across the company. What does it take to be customer-obsessed? You need to enable your employees to understand your customers as people with individual stories. Customer’s don’t care about being served by the “right” department, so employees must be empowered to own any customer interaction.
A free flow of information and collaborative knowledge is essential to eliminate traditional silos. Hizmy Hassen, global digital director at Coats PLC, said that he needs a single view of the customer, whether an existing customer or a new customer, to bring together global and local teams to deliver a consistent brand proposition.
Marketing’s influence and leadership is growing inside businesses today, but under a new job description. Customer-obsessed CMOs who leverage innovative technologies and data will be positioned to drive the most value for their customers and the organisations they lead.
Corinne Sklar is the global chief marketing officer at Bluewolf