OPINION: Synchronicity - a new vision for the CMO

By Paul Franks, Director, Financial Services, SAS

Imagine what could be achieved by optimising the full spectrum of marketing enablers for genuinely improved and sustainable returns on your marketing investment. Imagine optimising everything from data integration to business intelligence and from strategy to execution. Picture then, the complete synchronisation of marketing operations and campaign management, with an overlay of analytic intelligence.

Marketing professionals know very well how complex the marketing ecosystem has become. They must balance investments and initiatives across traditional media, digital media, public relations and more. And for each category they must also balance across marketing vehicles such as press relations, sponsorships, product placement and awards.

When you consider the imperative of all this balancing to optimise results, it is clear that marketers need to tackle the issue in a more synchronised way if they are to keep the wheels balanced and not spin out of control. Organisations should at least develop a state of awareness about synchronising the fundamental aspects of a closed-loop marketing process: integrating the planning, operation, execution and analytical marketing aspects from marketing ideation to resource allocation to cross-channel execution.

Evolving marketing landscape Marketers face transformative realities that have redefined their roles and expectations. Customers are more empowered than ever: they have ready access to all kinds of information about you and your competitors, good and bad. They can laud or lambast your brand among peers and strangers. They can seek recommendations and comparison-shop with ease and they expect pricing to be transparent and aligned with perceived value.

Customers expect not just to buy, but to engage: they are hyper-connected and are communicating not just for products and services but for relationship and value. They expect to be treated as a market segment of one. They have already done a lot of pre-evaluation and want to cut through the marketing hype and get to the real value you can provide.

The hyper-connected world drives big data: the proliferation of social webs, smart phones and other mobile devices is driving up the volume, velocity and variety of data both within and outside the organisation. When this data is combined with all the valuable insights and customer comments locked up in call records, support forums and internal communications, it is vital that everything is connected in a way that drives brand differentiation. Marketing is being held to new levels of accountability and performance: CMOs are under a lot of pressure to be more than just brand stewards and marketing communicators; to adopt a performance and business accountability perspective. All businesses continue to be tasked to do much more and faster – with fewer resources and in more innovative ways – while still protecting data and preserving privacy.

The evolving landscape means that marketing must meet heightened expectations within four primary responsibilities:

  • Customer experience: Deliver a branded customer experience, both inside and outside of marketing.
  • Marketing campaigns: Run integrated, multichannel, inbound/outbound conversations in real time.
  • Brand management: Sustain brand health in a rapidly changing virtual world.
  • Insights and analytics: Unearth and dynamically manage customer insights to drive action.

This fourth element – the analytic insight – is the glue that enables marketers to bridge both the operational side and the campaign side.

Technology framework for synchronization

There are disconnects between the campaign orchestration and execution front end of marketing activities, and the planning and operational backend. The focus is usually on outbound aspects while limited attention is given to the overall value of bridging both aspects together for a new paradigm, the “marketing engine”.

A high-level construct for conceptualizing an integrated marketing management process and looking at the marketing ecosystem in four buckets would be:

  • Strategy and planning: setting the right focus.
  • Information and analytics: where you actually create that 360-degree view with deep insights.
  • Orchestration and interaction: optimized multichannel execution.
  • Customer experience: delivering with relevance and authenticity.

This linear process is really more a closed loop cycle, as inputs from each of these four phases feed into each other at all times. The technologies are connected with your execution, with analytics as an underlay that powers both sides. As you implement this process, you’ll see common threads emerge: optimizing campaigns around every aspect of this cycle, moving from scheduled and periodic analytics to more real-time analytics, and of course, synchronising all these efforts.

How can analytics support synchronisation?

Analytics is sometimes thought of as not much more than the filtering, ranking and calculations of spreadsheets; delivering a view of the past. This kind of hindsight reporting is only the bottom rung on the analytics maturity ladder. Next up the scale are analytics that help you understand what is happening, then analytics for predicting what is going to happen, and ultimately, analytics for influencing what will happen. The higher a marketing organisation climbs this maturity scale, the greater the predictive insight and business value you can deliver.

The most successful organisations will be those which use an array of analytic techniques in a coordinated way to view the integrated marketing management construct and assess whether there is a balanced approach; one which combines reporting on the past, analysing the present and creating data-driven predictions to influence the future. Analytics can be applied at the level of individual customer transactions or massive customer segments. Customer analytics need to be “marketing process-aware” where data feeds are aggregated across customer channels and managed to be analysis-ready.

SAS, Paul Franks, CMO, marketing investment, business intelligence, campaign management, analytic intelligence
AB+F Online
Article Posted:
February 01, 2014

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