Customer Analytics: The Customer Insights’ Imperative for CMOs
Customer Analytics: The Customer Insights’ Imperative for CMOs

The most critical capability of the CMO is to have a profound, deep understanding of customers and their needs and know how to engage and serve them.  This of course involves knowledge of data and analytics. – Jamie Moldafsky, CMO, Wells Fargo, in “Redefining the CMO,” Deloitte Review, issue 22.

According to a recent study by the CMO Council and Deloitte, “CMOs have been increasingly asked to elevate their activities from brand and marketing plan management to acting as an enterprise-wide revenue driver that taps into the hearts and minds of their customers.”  Based on this research, Deloitte makes three recommendations on where CMOs should start.  One of these recommendations is to “relentlessly pursue customer expertise.”

The imperative is clear: today’s CMO is no longer just the brand steward, but also the customer steward.  He or she should be able to steer marketing strategies and activities that, as the report mentions, “engage customers with messaging that better speaks to their needs and values, establishing an ongoing relationship rather than a transactional one.”

The question then, is how the CMO becomes the customer steward.  Part of the equation involves traditional marketing tools and techniques such as personas, NPS, and focus groups in order to fully understand the customer (or customers) and how to meet their needs.  The other part – as mentioned by Moldafsky in her quote – is having a knowledge of data and analytics.  Today’s CMO must be able to analyze meaningful customer data in order to “lead the customer-centric charge.”

Unfortunately for many CMOs that presents a technical challenge, and for some, one that simply does not fit within their marketing budget.  The technical challenge is how to build an enterprise-class customer analytics platform that enables you to ask vital questions of your data.  And yes, it’s almost always build – even if you buy a software package, most require a significant amount of customization and development in order to make it integrate with your existing systems, deliver the answers to your business questions, and is user-friendly.  On top of that, you may also need a data scientist to build out the questions and structure the data so that those questions can be easily answered.  All of this takes time – many months – and money.  Lots of money.

You might be a CMO with a fairly unlimited technology budget. But chances are you do not have unlimited time. The average CMO has a tenure of just 4.1 years, which is half the average tenure for a CEO, and less than that of a CFO, CIO, or CHRO.

How do you, the ambitious CMO who understands the opportunity to be the customer steward and the challenges presented with a traditional approach to a customer analytics platform, resolve this inherent conflict?  The answer is simple: you seek out technology that is built for marketers, but robust enough to deliver the insights you need. One that works with your data, but that does not involve months of development efforts.

This approach puts you on the path spelled out in the Deloitte report: “CMOs wishing to transform their role can take advantage of their unique position to elevate themselves as the customer expert with stakeholders across the enterprise.”

Read more blog posts on customer insights and analyzing customer data:

Pull a Rabbit out of your Hat – or at Least Pull Insight from Your Data

Revelwood Named IBM Customer Analytics Partner of the Year

Using Customer Analytics to Solve Critical Business Challenges