The last year has been incredibly disruptive and the next year is bound to be more so. So what are CMOs gearing up for?
Historically, marketing has been about presenting influencing and winning. But the face of marketing changed the day technology became a co-player. With technology, the tools have changed, but the communication stays the same. Customer connect stays the same, but the mode is much stronger and faster now. With 2020 upon us, there is some hectic planning to be done.
Data has been at the center of a CMO strategy for a couple of years now, so nothing new there. So has Big Data analytics- it has given a particularly sharp set of teeth to all marketing strategies. The hype of digital transformation, (and I am certain not all of them have been the magic wand they were made out to be) seems to be now replaced with more pragmatic and practical thinking about the costs vs. the RoI. In fact, a number of CXOs have been left collecting the debris of the bad investments, unprepared company culture, and even far-from-ready infrastructure. The result has been a little disappointing, and 2020 may be about picking up those pieces.
However, as far as marketing is concerned, the future is not all technology. Nothing, no AI or RPA or even the smartest automated response application can replace the human touch. So clearly, marketing will never be completely technology-based. But the question is, amidst the plethora of so-called disruptive technologies and innovations that promise never before customer connect excellence, what are CMOs to focus on??
What are their top one or two priorities going to be in 2020?
As brands increasingly get liberated from traditional marketing limitations, the position of a conventional CMO may even be facing extinction. It is all about customer experience- and the CMO is not particularly required, in order for the right potion to be brewed. The challenge they face is actually critical to the continuance of the CMO role in an organization. While data-driven content will be critical, it will be strategies that provide the best customer experience, the closest customer connect, and the biggest customer satisfaction will be the ones that won.
In the New Year, the role of the CMO is certainly going to be changed unrecognizably. Two decades ago, when digitization of enterprise started, the role moved from mere brand-building expertise to a data-led strategist. The case of successful transition has completely disrupted some organizations, but it’s time for a new direction. This will be charted by the newness of the environment- creating a unique challenge. Today, the biggest challenge for any CMO is to be able to differentiate their product in an ocean of like products. Everything, every product is amplified; it takes no time for duplication or at least a high likeness. For the new generation of sharp customers, this is a huge issue. Technology helps, but only to a certain extent.
Most CMOs realize that the winner will be the one who can actually cut through the din- and clearly and sincerely connect with the customer. Perhaps the strategy would be about using a clever combination of traditional marketing strategies and technology support to enhance them. Perhaps it is not going to be cutting edge at all- but about dulled edges? Do about humans connect?
The most pragmatic CMO will be one who can get the right balance of technical jargon and the exact point on customer needs. The successful CMO in 2020 will be one that masters marketing – with exact products and specific solutions. The smartest CMO will be who does not waste resources, time or money wading through increasingly complex technology solutions, but one who will know where the line is drawn- where technology stops and leadership strategy begins. That will be the point where he or she will find the largest cluster of willing customers.