In 2018, CMOs have two choices. Embrace data-driven technologies whole-heartedly. Or adopt them reluctantly. Ignoring them? Not an option.
According to Deloitte, CMOs are taking on new responsibilities to reflect the voice of the customer. Yes, they are still the stewards of branding and creative. But their ultimate employers—mobile-armed customers—are a constantly moving target.
So, where should marketing execs concentrate their efforts in 2018? Every industry and company is going to have its own unique set of priorities but there are some core challenges that no company can afford to get wrong—plus a couple of newer technologies whose enormous potential is demanding to be tapped in 2018.
1) Get mobile right first, but think strategically.
The most common misconception is to think of mobile as alternative or add-on channel. The problem is, mobile technology—and associated customer behavior—have progressed far beyond this point. CMOs can no longer think of mobile in a silo. Customers routinely expect a consistent experience across all channels they interact with.
2) Connect data across channels.
The proliferation of channels beyond websites has vastly increased the number of touchpoints that brands have with their customers. And technologies have evolved to capture all that rich behavioral information. Today, marketers have plenty of data—the challenge now is how to connect it all together and transform marketing from discreet interactions in each marketing channel to a single conversation across many marketing channels. Recognizing that a customer is the same person, regardless of the device, location, platform or situation, is a critical priority for CMOs.
3) Take a human (and pragmatic) approach to AI.
CMOs should not be embarrassed to admit that they haven’t yet wrapped their minds around artificial intelligence. However, they must also understand that AI is not magic—and question vendors who promise it can solve every marketing challenge.
CMOs need to think about AI in helping them answer very specific questions, like ‘When is the best time to send this email?’ or ‘What is the ideal subject line to use?’ When you start thinking of AI in terms of the answers it provides, it removes some of the “magic black box” aura and helps marketers get real measurable results from AI.
4) Think outside the IoT box.
When it comes to IoT, most CMOs have barely scratched the surface. Until now, IoT has largely remained a focus of B2C business. But B2B businesses are beginning to catch up.
There are two ways to think about IoT—as a tool for gathering ever-richer customer information and as a new channel to enhance customer experiences. It is time to huddle with your CIO and brainstorm ways IoT can begin to transform your organization.
5) Get data privacy right. You can’t get marketing right if you get privacy wrong.
As marketing becomes more data-driven, marketers need to tread the line between giving their customers the personalized experience they demand while still being sensitive to their data privacy concerns. One breach of customer information can wipe out gains from many successful marketing campaigns, so CMOs must make data privacy an intrinsic part of every digital initiative.
In addition, the European Union’s Global Data Protection Regulation will come into effect in 2018. It will bring new and stronger rights for individuals, increased demands to demonstrate compliance, and more regulatory scrutiny. If you do business in Europe or with European customers, make sure your technology partners are committed to helping you address any GDPR requirements that are relevant to their services.
Learn more about the mobile-armed, ever-changing customer in 3 Ways Your Shoppers Have Changed and How to Keep Up.