If you’re a CMO, you’ve got a difficult job. While not that long ago your responsibilities would have been squarely focused on building a brand, and all of the creative that goes with it, today you’ve got a bunch of new areas under your purview. I’m talking about things like technology, analytics, and growth, among others, that extend well beyond what we think of as traditional marketing.
As exciting of a time as it is to be a marketer, if you’re the top dog in your organization, it’s also pretty stressful. Chances are that unlike in the past, you now have a spot in the board room, where everyone right up to the CEO looks to you to deliver measurable impact on the organization. To rise to the occasion, there’s a lot that you need to do.
It’s with that in mind that I’d like to share what I believe are the five things that should be keeping CMOs up at night. You know, the stuff that you should be thinking about, worried about, and focused on right now.
These five things represent both challenges and opportunities and, if you get them right, they will help position you and your company among the very best. They are:
1. Wrangling all of Your Data
Although data has been a part of marketing for some time, never before have we had access to so much information about our customers, their preferences and behaviors, and when and how they use our services. We’re getting data from marketing automation platforms, various other tools and technologies, third-party data vendors, and even our own products. The challenge is figuring out how to use that raw data to drive more effective campaigns that are both targeted and personalized.
Tip: Approach your data like a data scientist would. That means starting with the questions you’re trying to answer and then acting on the insights that your data leads you to.
2. Sifting Through All of the Technology
At last count, there were 3,874 different martech companies out there, all of which are vying for your attention and telling you how they can help you solve problems that you might not even know you have. As a CMO, you’ve got to embrace technology to support your business. But choosing the right technologies to meet your needs without breaking your budget can be a difficult and time-consuming exercise.
Tip: Save time by being upfront about what you need to accomplish with any technology you’re evaluating. Lots of marketers spend weeks weeks looking at options only to find out late in the game that they actually won’t meet their highly specific needs.
3. Creating Relevant Content
You’ve been worried about creating content for the sake of creating content for some time. The problem is that so has everyone else and, as a result, people are not only inundated with the stuff, but also really good at tuning most of it out. You need to find ways to make sure that your content cuts through all of the noise and really sets you apart.
Tip: To ensure your content will be successful, it needs to provide real value to your audience, convey your distinctive brand voice, and be clear, concise, and visually engaging.
4. Understanding the Entire Customer Experience
Increasingly, marketers aren’t just responsible for attracting customers, but also shaping the experience they have at every touch point with your brand. Creating great experiences for your customers matters because it will help you retain them and earn their loyalty.
Tip: Recognize that customer experience isn’t just a marketing priority; it needs to be a company-wide initiative. That’s because customers interact with your company at all different touch points, not just the ones you control. If the experiences they have with sales, customer service, or anyone else aren’t consistent and on brand, your customers will be confused, or worse, turned off.
5. Influencing the Influencers
Considering that 91 percent of B2B buyers are influenced by word of mouth, tapping into the power of advocate marketing is incredibly important. The idea is simple. You want to build an army of advocates made up of customers, employees, and industry influencers who are so excited about what you’re doing that they want to share it with everyone else. That’s easier said than done, of course, but if you make it happen it will pay off in a big way.
Tip: One of the keys to succeeding at advocate marketing is to remember that you only get as good as you give. Simply having a great product isn’t good enough. You also need to find ways to help, promote, and activate your advocates so they’re getting something in return for their efforts.
There’s no doubt that it’s an amazing time to be a marketer — challenges and opportunities abound. If you want to succeed you need to be thinking about all of it and have a plan in place for how to incorporate the best of it into your marketing strategy. It’s a tall order to be a top CMO in 2016, but paying attention to these 5 things will help you sleep soundly.
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