Setting The Foundations For The Modern Marketer

There is great debate around the role of the chief marketing officer in today’s business landscape. As a chief marketing officer (CMO) myself, it’s obvious that this role is no longer simply charged with developing a great message and steering sales leads through the funnel. Before we define the role of today’s modern marketer, however, it’s important to first understand the shift that has occurred from traditional marketing to the current customer-centric, data-driven approach.

Over the past decade, the CMO’s focus has evolved, driven in large part by organizations’ migration to cloud-based systems. As formerly siloed systems were integrated more easily via a hosted model, it became possible for executives to draw new insights from data sets that had been previously segregated. Technological know-how within the C-suite was no longer the sole domain of the chief information officer (CIO) or the chief technology officer (CTO). If you ask me, the executive who benefited most from this unlocked repository of data-driven information was the CMO.

Cloud-based platforms enable marketers to not only nurture and measure leads and deals in its customer relationship management (CRM) system, but they also continue to monitor the health of the customer experience through the contact center, professional services teams and other groups within the organization. Issues raised through customer support interactions can influence product marketing as well as the organization’s product road map. Marketing is able to create a more comprehensive view of individual customers — much more accurate than general personas when developing exceptional customer experiences.

The Modern Marketer Requires Data

I believe that what makes today’s marketers “modern” is having a mix of vision, message and specific technologies to underpin each channel. It’s about creating a tailored one-to-one experience that exceeds customer expectations.

As discussed above, underpinning all of this is data. Data is the most valuable asset a marketer has; however, it is increasing at a rate that far exceeds what humans can keep up with. Emerging solutions in which every endpoint is connected to a network and tracked 24/7 will only exacerbate this issue. 

By 2025, the number of connected devices is expected to reach 75 billion (subscription required). Customer attributes will be everywhere, but they will be useless from a marketing perspective if we can’t make sense of them.

So, how can we take that data and transform it into something actionable? 

Are we delivering on consumer expectations? 

How can we know if it’s a good experience or a bad one for the consumer?

AI Is The Modern Marketer’s Partner

Enter artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer a concept or afterthought. We are beginning to see it incorporated into standard CRM systems, account-based marketing platforms and other parts of the marketing technology stack. AI is providing marketers a better understanding of previous customer behavior and predictions on future actions by analyzing various customer touch points.

I believe we’re in the beginning stages of AI’s influence on the customer experience. The contact center is an especially prolific source of customer data, and AI is using that data to better serve customers based on previous interactions and predicted activities. It can learn patterns and feed a chatbot that provides routine answers to customers, freeing human agents to resolve higher-level issues.

AI also can learn from agent-customer interactions, analyzing conversations to identify new chatbot functions or serve “next best” actions in human interaction. The details of these interactions are captured in the customer’s profile and used to refine the system for future activity.

Marrying traditional systems like the CRM and contact center with artificial intelligence is arming CMOs with necessary insights to better target customers and ensure an exceptional customer experience. These new systems drive business value and allow organizations to build a personalized experience with their customers. I believe this will be the foundation of a successful marketing program in the decade to come.

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