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Organizing Marketing for Success: CIO-CMO collaboration

Forrester Research and Forbes made a study and article about CIO-CMO collaboration: “Why The Most Important C-Suite Relationship For Marketers Is Still The Trickiest” The article concentrate on the challenges and approaches to enable and enhance collaboration and how to create common ground and language between the two very different specialist areas. I did agree with everything that was said in the article, but I couldn’t help thinking whether CMO-CIO collaboration is actually enough. Customers today engage with companies in multiple touchpoints and environments, their expectations change along their customer relationship and -journey (check out article: definition for Customer Experience) and their motives and needs have great variation. In my opinion CMO should be in charge of customer experience, promises, concepts and methods that drive great brand experiences, brand loyalty and engagement. However, the reality is that currently many of those channels and touchpoints are managed by customer service and business units or online service development unit. Often the research and analytics are also outsourced or in a separate silo. In case the CMO really has the wide customer experience management role, I agree that CMO-CIO relationship can drive phenomenal success, in case that is not the case, there must be even wider collaboration across business units. Here’s Accenture Interactives documentation about the subject: “The CMO-CIO disconnect – Bridging the gap to seize the digital opportunity”

Tom Asacker captures why customers think of corporate experience  holistically. A brand, he says, is “one, interdependent system of behavior”. The problem is that in too many organizations the “system” has many masters and each wants independent control of their domain. CMOs, who might be expected to have responsibility for the overall experience as of right, do not. That’s because large chunks of the interface with customers, and the factors that influence that interface, remain for the most part outside of their control. They do not fit neatly into the “normal” org chart definition of what constitutes marketing. (Full article: Brands: One System Of Touch)

Some time ago I wrote an article in which I claimed, that the marketing organisation is like an engine from 60’s. “The Duke University’s CMO Survey 2013 results highlighted again the need for marketing and CMO’s to carry more responsibility and integrate better with the corporate management and operations. It seems to me that marketing is facing the same evolution that car engines have gone thru since 1960′s. In the 60′s car engines were large, heavy, powerful and impressive but their gas consumption was just terrible and their efficiency unacceptable in current evaluation. Currently engines are much smaller but deliver a lot of power with very low gas consumption. The big and impressive modern engines have amazing power with acceptable gas consumption. The engine game is all about efficiency, as it should be – and the same rule apply to marketing management”.

Inbound marketing technology provider Hubspot has created their view of agile, rapid, realtime, evidence based marketing function and organisation. They don’t actually define the business units that should be involved, that must be considered case by case. Hubspot’s process is based on SCRUM-software development process and methodology. I find this approach to marketing quite appealing and interesting. Inbound marketing is about creating content and turning that content and stronger online traffic in to demand and leads. The approach is all about relationship marketing in the digital era and omnichannel environment. Please comment if you have any experiences about implementing such process to your organisation? Check out the presentation:

I’m working with company’s customer interface development and customer experience design. What I see in my everyday business, is clear need to break thru silos and increase collaboration. The SCRUM-process and organisation outline in the presentation must be considered separately for each organisation. The SCRUM-team should be a group of people influencing customer experiences across the Funnel and customer relationship in order to really make most of the approach. Short term analytics and A/B-testing are naturally important tools in such approach to marketing, but also the long-term development must be carefully considered. The brand image changes rather slowly and is an outcome of everything the company does. The SCRUM process easily change perception to short-term development and generate blind spots in larger scale opportunities. Team like this must make sure that they have both insight and topsight views to what they are doing and developing.

Please, share your experiences about how to organise marketing function for success!!! What worked, what failed?

Author: Toni Keskinen, Marketing Architect & Customer Journey Designer

http://www.linkedin.com/in/tonikeskinen

Join FutureCMO Movement LinkedIn Group here

Marketing DO or DIE – Managing Customer Interfaces

In case of any company that is selling products and services that people are interested in enough to find more information about, have customer relationships with continuous or repeated purchases, succeed or fail because of their customer interfaces. In the current business environment, where the competition is hard and people have other players available in a ‘click’, you can not afford to fail in converging visitors or people who get interested to buyers. For CMO, these are the new priorities:

  1. Most accountable and rapid growth is available from current customers, their loyalty, re-purchases and cross-selling increasing lifetime value. This game is all aobut customer experience
  2. Strongest growth of customer base is available from own customer interfaces by expanding their reach and increasing conversion rate. The core goal is to recognize these people and start servicing them in order to sell (=selling by servicing and inspiring approach)
  3. Other market – non customers, is most unaccountable and most difficult to really increase ROI from. Content marketing driven SEO success, positive social media, referring traffic and general positive WOM are all free medium generating new visitors to own customer interfaces.

CMO has a rather large liquid capital to invest and in most cases its has been spent on external media channels and advertising. As I am writing this the old spending habits are changing rapidly. Instead of trying to advertise the company’s image, preference and top-of-mind to the new hights, smartest CMO’s and companies are concentrating their efforts on customer experience and customer interfaces. Customer Journey and how to manage it is very much dependent on data and it is now rather easy to capture that data, which is changing the game rapidly (There is nothing wrong with advertising, but I have witnessed way too many times that the advertising has increased demand in general and sold competitors products. So, don’t advertise in case you don’t know that your customer interfaces actually deliver sales to your own brand. Once you do, they will sell also when your competitor is advertising and your own advertising will deliver much higher ROI)

When designing the customer journey and marketing priorities the external touch points are as valuable as their capability to pull people to the company’s own interfaces. Once they are on the company’s interfaces it’s vital to recognize them, which makes it much easier for you to inspire, serve and create feeling of trust or trigger purchases. Own interfaces are as valuable as their capability to convert visitors to buyers or at least recognize who the potential buyers are. In banner advertising this kind of action is called re-targeting, but that secondary compared to marketing automation tools and rich CRM data captured with 1st party cookies. So, here’s a how you can break the picture above in to more detailed contributors along the customer interfaces:

It’s actually not that difficult to pull together data about these interfaces and their contribution to the corporate overall success. Once you have all that data pulled together it is much easier to concentrate on how to make the whole system work more efficiently. These frameworks are tools for Topsight -kind of view. However, they give you a better perspective about what is the role of advertising and what could be possible with your existing customer interfaces, natural traffic, visitors, people considering your product and learning about it, or the role of CRM and existing customer database.

Once you have understanding the next level would be about creating systematic and automated tools and processes for further scale. Here is one more frame for such approach (cycle for success) in the online marketing environment:

This cycle for success starts from customer understanding: Who, what, where and why we should target. The budget allocation for “who” is the foundation for potential to succeed.
The second stage is about performance attribution explaining the active performance of a creative portfolio. Multivariate testing (MVT) with variety of creatives and continuous improvement of best campaigns will deliver you results that are several times better than regular practices deliver.
Clicks however are not money. You must take the time and make sure that the process delivers sales eventually. That is about optimization of landing pages and customer journey. Very little things can deliver much better sales. I don’t think there is any other area in marketing where you can get such amazing ROI that you can get from increased conversion.
Once you do create sales, you also create customer database. Analyze them thoroughly and it becomes an asset you can feed back to the allocation model and create effective marketing automation in order to optimize customer life-time value. Customer understanding is also the best food for creativity.
This is the cycle of success I think will become standard within the next few years.
Everything explained above is already working in practice. Its still very much about continuous learning but already there – not in the distant future.
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