What’s the Number One Priority for Marketers Today?
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? The number one priority for marketers today is to lead the company in finding new revenue and business opportunities.
The majority of business leaders would say they agree, according to a recent survey of CMOs from the CMO Council and Deloitte. Nearly 70% of those surveyed stated that they expect marketing’s primary role to be driving growth. This means that, in addition to attracting new customers and managing the brand story, CMOs are now tasked with opening new markets and optimizing the customer experience in ways that directly help the bottom line.
Given the explosion of MarTech products over the past few years, it’s fair to say that most CMOs see these technology stacks as a key part of their new roles. If CMOs can identify the best technology for their context and use it to constantly optimize customer experiences, they can find opportunities to improve customer service, make marketing processes more efficient, glean new insight from analytics, and ultimately use all of this as a foundation for customer experience strategies that contribute to new business growth.
Most CMOs Aren’t Taking Full Advantage of Their MarTech Stack
Unfortunately, when it comes to executing this vision for marketing technology, many companies are left disappointed. Even with the implementation of new products, brands aren’t seeing the impact they expect from MarTech. Other research has shown, for example, that technology is only marginally improving marketing performance at most companies. Even more concerning, as of 2015, only 9% of marketers believe that they are fully utilizing their MarTech stacks.
The insight from the CMO Council’s report suggests that much of this disconnect is due to the CMO’s struggle to translate their new role as business drivers into their daily work. Here is how CMOs say they currently spend their time:
- Reviewing and approving marketing plans, budgets and campaigns (45%)
- Defining and shaping the brand (44%)
- Executing campaigns to attract customers (42%)
- Evolving the brand narrative (37%)
Based on this list, it seems like CMOs are still focused on being brand ambassadors and managing campaigns, rather than optimizing the customer experience.
Part of the reason could be the normal momentum of their roles. Traditionally, marketing has focused on the promises it makes to customers early on in the sales funnel. This is reflected in the technology investments most CMOs make, such as campaign tracking and reporting software. What they need instead is marketing technology that improves customer experience, produces revenue and optimizes business solutions.
CMOs Need to Start Using MarTech to Impact the Entire Customer Journey
It seems like MarTech has impressive ROI around areas that have traditionally been part of marketing’s role (such as CRO), but isn’t necessarily impacting the bottom line in new ways, like business leaders expect.
With 63% of marketers today using some kind of journey mapping, we know that most CMOs have a customer journey map already created. Connecting marketing technology to different points in the journey can help CMOs identify opportunities for improvement.
One great example of this comes from Deborah Wahl, the CMO at McDonald’s. She staffed her team with 200 tech specialists and used the digital insights they gathered to assess pain points in the customer journey specifically for millennials. They found that millennials disliked that the breakfast menu ended at 10:30am and advised switching to an all-day menu. After the change, 78% of millennials said they visited McDonald’s at least once a month, which is the highest percentage McDonald’s has seen from this group in three years. This is the kind of impact CMOs can have when they use technology to improve performance, especially at moments in the customer journey that have typically been outside of marketing’s scope.
This change in scope is the difference between customer experience optimization and campaign optimization. While campaign optimization focuses on individual marketing plans in order to bring in new customers, customer experience optimization tracks and evaluates the performance of every single customer interaction. Those who excel at the latter spend their time tracking the performance of each channel, measuring customer satisfaction at each touchpoint and pulling data from later purchase and post-purchase stages.
Customer experience optimization is what CMOs need to start using their MarTech stacks for, ideally with the help of a smart analytics team that understands how to uncover meaningful, actionable data. This will have a higher impact on the bottom line than campaigns, and it will uncover gaps in the customer journey that CMOs are in the best position to see.
CMOs Have More Influence Than Ever
In the CMO Council's report, 27% of respondents said that the CMO is the primary chief revenue driver, trumping the CEO at 22%. This means that CMOs now have opportunities to act as trusted members of executive management and influence the decisions that make or break customer experience, provided they find ways to step out of the comfort zone of business-as-usual.
It's time for CMOs to shift focus away from pre-sale and discovery interactions, where marketing has been traditionally focused. If CMOs want to impact growth and revenue, they need to look at the full customer lifecycle and become experts at using technology to achieve their business goals.