In recent times, the role of marketing in influencing business decisions at the highest levels has only become more pronounced because of the direct connect the marketers have to the consumers. With the explosion of media and distribution channels, the scope of marketing has gone through the roof. Chief Marketing Officers can no longer afford to remain merely marketing gurus; they need to give marketing a new attitude and turn it into a powerful engine for growth, in the process, charting a roadmap for themselves to the CEO position.
According to top CMOs, the future will bring a set of new challenges and responsibilities for them.
1. How to engage customers on their favorite platforms/devices?
Customers today encompass a range of ages (think Gen X/Y/Z). While the younger generations work and play predominantly in the mobile and social world, others still use traditional media. For achieving the best connection with the customer, it is important to share content and project thought leadership via a mode that the customer is most comfortable with. This intense focus on the customer and his/her journey will be a defining feature of marketing henceforth.
2. How to make intelligent decisions using data?
With enormous amounts of data at their fingertips, marketers should focus on how to reach the ‘right customers’, rather than on reaching the maximum number of customers. Efficient data analytics is the mantra for making sense of all the data; analytics can also help in choosing new markets and adapting offerings to local preferences and sensitivities.
3. How to help employees grow?
The digital revolution has changed everything. Today’s employer needs to empower employees to upgrade their skill sets with the help of the right tools and training in order to increase employee engagement and loyalty. They also need to add diversity at the workplace, and improve work-life balance for all employees.
4. How to prevent content overload?
These days, there is an abundance of content in various forms and formats, everywhere. It takes skill and expertise in inbound marketing to keep content relevant and topical for the customer, and to provide it in the most personalized format. This will also foster brand engagement and recognition.
5. How to use technology for customer connect?
With the advent of mobile apps, videos, wearable tech, virtual reality and so on, the means to reach and connect with customers has multiplied manifold. CMOs need to be conversant with the latest technologies so that they can facilitate identification of customer needs and address them at every stage of the customer’s buyer journey.
6. How to build brand value?
In the digital economy, aligning the customer experience with the company’s philosophy enables an organic growth for both. Also, marketing should use technology to feed the sales pipeline, increasing conversions and brand visibility. Technology and customer-centricity should form the backbone of new business strategy.
7. How to stand apart from competitors?
Marketers need to differentiate themselves from others by how they listen to and respond to their customers, making them fully aware of the full capabilities of the marketer. By setting up and following strict process standards, an organization can give itself a distinctive edge over competitors.
As for core focus areas, most CMOs predict that for the year 2016, the primary focus would be on the following trends:
- Data Analytics
- Marketing Automation
- Social Media
It just goes to show that CMOs seem poised for more growth and bigger opportunities this year than possibly ever before. With digital marketing assuming ever-larger importance in the business arena, inbound marketers hold the key to success, be it SMBs or large enterprises.
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