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Chief Marketing Officers face four key challenges

Marketing leaders challenged by changes to traditional marketing methods

A recent article on Michael Gass’ blog, Fuel Lines, cites an IBM study of more than 1,700 chief marketing officers (CMOs). The changing marketing landscape and the need to make fundamental changes to traditional marketing methods is top of mind and seen as an urgent priority. However, CMOs are challenged to respond to these key changes in marketing.

The study’s findings point to four key challenges that CMOs everywhere are confronting:

  1. The explosion of data – 90% of the world’s data today has been created in the last two years alone.
  2. The rise of social media – 56% of CMOs view social media as a key engagement channel.
  3. Channel and device choices – The growing number of new marketing channels and devices, from smart phones to tablets, is quickly becoming a priority for CMOs.
  4. Shifting demographics – New global markets and the influx of younger generations with different patterns of information access and consumption, are changing the face of the marketplace.

Social media is at the forefront

This study reiterates the importance of social media as an evolving consumer engagement channel. As consumer media goes, so will business to business. Other studies show the value of social media as a component of a strong B2B marketing program. (see our blog posts listed at the end).

Michael summarizes … Carolyn Heller Baird, the global director of the study, likens marketers who underestimate the impact of social media to those who were slow to view the internet as a new and powerful platform for commerce.

The inflection point, created by social media, represents a permanent change in the nature of customer relationships … Like the rise of e-business more than a decade ago, the radical embrace of social media by all customer demographic categories represents an opportunity for marketers to drive increased revenue, brand value and to reinvent the nature of the relationship between enterprises and the buyers of their offerings.”

Michael goes on to comment:

CMOs identify customer relationships as one of their top priorities. They recognize the impact of real-time data and social media supplementing traditional methods of marketing and gathering market feedback, but they remain stuck in traditional approaches.

“Marketers who are receptive to social media and the insight it provides will be far better prepared to anticipate future shifts in markets and technology.”

Thanks to Michael Gass for bringing this study to our attention

CMOs have a tough job, and traditionally, according to BusinessWeek, at major corporations they are often in their job for only about a year. This presents a dual challenge … implementing a long term approach and strategy that includes a social media component, and being around long enough to manage it and see its impact.

What’s our takeaway?

Those same four challenges plague small business owners, marketers and marketing managers, and organizations trying desperately to be in front of the new channels while being efficient in managing resources of time and dollars. Where to start?

Our recommendations:

Don’t just dabble in social media.

If you don’t have someone to champion a program for the long term, in order to build it up, it will waste your time and resources. And before you even consider it, take a hard look at your customer profile. Are they active in social media? Or just using Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends?

Build from the point of choice.

In nearly every case, this means make your Website work harder for you, keep it credible, engage the visitor. It’s not an online brochure, it’s much more. Because where do people go when they’re looking for the goods and services you provide? Hint … it’s not the yellow pages.

Put yourself in your target audience’s shoes.

What do they care about? Why do they choose you? What’s in it for them? Get clear about the benefits you provide, the outcomes you create, the value you deliver. Not just the stuff you sell.

More thoughts on social media, a credible website, and social’s value in a B2B program:

We would love to hear your thoughts. As a marketer, what’s your biggest challenge? As a business owner or manager, how are you addressing these four key challenges? As a CMO, do you relate to these statistics?

About the author

Jennifer Larsen Morrow

Jennifer's four decades of work in the industry, starting as a designer and adding marketing, copywriting and digital marketing, has generated response for clients since 1978.

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