The CMO Balancing Act: Marketing in the Age of the Connected Customer
Shaku Selvakumar 060001XT47 firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  smarter_commerce digital_marketing bizagility cmo strategy ibmimpact leadership
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Contributed by Shaku Selvakumar
Manoj Saxena is Vice President, Strategy & Market Development in IBM Software Solutions Group. His leads worldwide strategy, market selection, investments, and integrated execution for IBM's Industry Solutions business. Previously he was Vice President and Global Solutions Leader for IBM Global Business Services (GBS) where he led the worldwide strategy, alliances, development, and management of IBM’s multi-billion dollar Global Solutions and Assets business. Manoj joined IBM in 2006 through the acquisition of Webify, a company he founded and led as it's Chairman and CEO.
Manoj, thanks for taking the time out of your hectic schedule to do this interview.
Let me start off on a topic that is on everyone's mind: the changing role of the CMO. Given the rise of new media, the growing number of sales and service touch points, and the fragmentation of customer segments, how do you see the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) role evolving?
Few senior-executive positions will be subject to as much change over the next few years as that of the chief marketing officer. In fact, the average CMO tenure today is 21 months and it is growing shorter.
Much of this evolution is driven by rising customer expectations, increasingly interconnected and complex global supply chains and the increased role of user generated media and third parties in corporate-marketing and reputation-building efforts.
Let’s begin with Customers first. Customers today are empowered by technology and transparency. They expect to engage with companies when and how they want, through physical, digital and mobile means. They want a consistent experience between all channels. They compare notes and instantly share. And they can champion a brand or sully a reputation with the click of a mouse.
It is not just about the connected consumer driving the “consumerization” of business. These disruptive forces are now moving from customers through to enterprise and across supplier network. The networked workforce engages in new ways to collaborate both inside and outside the enterprise and the empowered citizen is increasingly digitally engaged and networked. All of these bring great demands on marketing and the role of the CMO.
Given the tremendous changes and the marketing potential offered by the new media and proliferation of distribution channels, companies have begun to engage marketing in guiding corporate level strategies and in connecting the corporate boardroom with the customer.
Going forward, the CMO will have significantly expanded role beyond advertising, brand management, and market research. Specifically, they will be responsible for:
Finally, the CMO will have to decide whether they take on the mantle of a corporate dynamo or go the way of the dodo.
As digital marketing transforms the way we do business, data overload is fast becoming a critical issue. How is the CMO grappling with analytics technology to distinguish what is mission critical?
Great question. Rarely do I see a client who doesn't have enough data. It's everywhere. They are overwhelmed with it. My advice to them is not to worry about the data. Worry instead about the key metrics that are true performance indicators that will help your team understand what is going on and make right decisions. This is particularly important given the pace at which the CMOs mission is expanding.
In my experience, the more progressive CMOs are doing a few things very differently when it comes to managing data overload:
First, they are moving from digital marketing reporting to Analytics. They view Analytics not as a corporate reporting mechanism but as a tool for their customers. They focus on dynamic analytics to provide Customers what they need, quicker than ever before possible, based on customer patterns and requests from both online and offline touch points.
Second, they are establishing focused scorecards that avoid the trap of trying to report on too many things at once. These scorecards help summarize performance around a few key metrics that can be managed in a monthly or quarterly scorecard. It also helps bring the team together around a single, performance-driven scorecard and reward outcomes vs efforts.
Finally, leading CMOs are increasingly involved in the details of how business processes are being redesigned, data is being captured, and predictive analytics models are developed. Some even go farther and validate the models by an independent third-party to ensure their accuracy. They then get engaged with the CFO and CIOs to analyze the performance of marketing processes to understand when a change is needed.
Can you tell us more about our Smarter Commerce initiative that you have been leading?
Smarter Commerce is a cross-IBM initiative to help our clients increase the value they generate for their customers in a rapidly changing digital world. It helps companies address and capitalize on some of the changes we discussed earlier by putting the customer at the center of their operations and driving new levels of customer loyalty, revenue / margin growth, and business agility.
Smarter Commerce is a set of IBM services and offerings designed to help clients conduct commerce -- buy, market, sell and service more effectively. It brings together IBM capabilities that span business analytics, strategy consulting, and a comprehensive set of industry specific business solutions.
Our Smarter Commerce initiative draws on the market-leading WebSphere Commerce platform and a $2.5 billion investment last year in on-premise and cloud-based buy-market-sell software such as Coremetrics, a web-analytics firm; Unica, an interactive-campaign-management firm; and Sterling Commerce, a retail-systems and analytics company.
We will combine these capabilities and go to market globally by industry through the nearly 2,500 employees across Global Services and Research that we have allocated to this initiative. It is important to note that this is not a standing start. We already have over 2,000 brands on board that are realizing the value from these offerings including Group Danone, Staples and 1-800-Flowers.
How will this help our clients
differentiate their offerings?
With Smarter Commerce, clients can respond to rapid changes in customer behavior and expectations by:
Smarter Commerce helps our clients get lot smarter about all facets of online
and offline commerce, from initial marketing efforts to customer interaction in the buying and
selling phase, to the product delivery and subsequent service that ensures
Thanks Manoj for a great interview!
To learn more about the CMO mandate, register for the CMO webcast on March 18 at 12 ET with speakers Manoj Saxena and Paul McNulty moderated by Stephen Saunders. The webcast focuses on the key to customer retention and marketing automation.
Attend Impact 2011 and catch the new dedicated Marketing Track to help CMOs and marketing professionals leverage technology to drive business value. You can also learn how capabilities from IBM can help you improve agility and manage complexity with Smarter Commerce solutions for seamless, secure integration of key business processes inside and outside your enterprise and cross-channel commerce.
Impact 2011 will bring together the world’s leading experts in BPM, SOA, WebSphere and Cross-Channel Commerce to deliver invaluable technical and business education, networking opportunities, hands-on labs, certifications, and much more. Impact offers a unique opportunity to discover how to align business objectives with IT, optimize business performance and interact with technology and business leaders from around the world.