While Scaling Personalized Content, CMOs are Transforming their Companies
I joined Prophet just about nine months ago after leading the marketing services practice at one of the largest interactive agencies in the world. I thought I knew a lot about marketing transformation. I now work with CMOs who are responsible for leading their own transformation agendas. Altimeter’s State of Digital Marketing 2020 only reinforces how much of a marketing transformation is now focused on driving more personalized customer interactions and achieving the scale of operations required to support it.
The CMO Transformation Agenda is Focused on Personalized Experiences
Digital transformation, a term du jour, is often used to articulate the need to modernize an organization. Transition to the cloud, which my prior firm often spoke to, isn’t transformation; rather, it’s a means to modernize capabilities, streamline costs, and improve outcomes. In recent work, it has become clear that true transformation is anchored on becoming either a truly data-centric or customer-centric company. These are not mutually exclusive targeted outcomes but can be a different lens for defining and prioritizing company priorities. For the CMO, this marketing transformation agenda often translates into the ability to deliver a more personalized series of interactions to their most important customers who will have the most impact on their business performance. In fact, 52 percent of respondents chose personalization as their top capability to improve, while 37 percent prioritized improving segmentation—a direct input into personalization (Altimeter’s State of Digital Marketing 2020). The effort to generate more personalization requires both data-centric and customer-centric marketing transformation capabilities and measured outcomes.
CMOs have been modernizing their capabilities with digital for years, with added sophistication in finding and reaching audiences through additional digital marketing channels. Another priority is improving performance on existing digital channels (42%), while investing in new ones (34%) (Altimeter’s State of Digital Marketing 2020). What is reinforced here is how the growing demands on new channels go together with the need for more personalization. Finding new or existing customers in new channels requires cross-channel understanding and insights to drive personalized interactions. The relevance and timeliness of these interactions will ultimately directly impact marketing performance going forward. Experiences are increasingly instrumented and performance understanding requires data to be captured, measured, organized and given back at the speed marketing works to be effective.
These large amounts of marketing performance data must now deliver insights that are integrated with the marketing technology platforms to enrich more real-time interactions in acquisition and conversions.
The top challenge, however, remains purchasing and integrating the right Martech platforms with 52 percent of those interviewed stating that purchasing or integrating the right marketing technology platform was their biggest obstacle (Altimeter’s State of Digital Marketing 2020). For most organizations, these investments in content management, customer relationship management, and marketing automation have been underway for years. There is still an ever-increasing need to connect more core marketing capabilities into these platforms. These integrations enable core capabilities that marketing now deploys to drive personalization, as well as the ability to measure and optimize based on desired business outcomes. The race is in reaching scale in efficiency and effectiveness of these new capabilities.
Scaling Processes and Workflows
What is also apparent in working with leading CMOs on their marketing transformations is that most of the challenges they face are underpinned by the need to embed new ways of working. Forty-nine percent of digital marketers said scaling best practices across business units and geographies were their biggest challenge (Altimeter’s State of Digital Marketing 2020). Marketing budgets are not increasing to meet the needs of providing more unique and personal content to more people. Despite what many friends in technology will say, in practice, no platform alone will close this gap without fundamentally rethinking what new skills are needs, how teams are structured and how to best integrate their workflows to streamline and gain efficiency.
How a company presents itself in advertising, messages, on its website, in its mobile applications, etc. will matter greatly in terms of how CMOs build relevance and depth of relationship with customers. Content matters. Content matters a lot. While marketing budgets aren’t wildly increasing and growing segmentation increases demand further, the delivery of needed templates, images, copy and offers will not scale to support that demand. In order to deliver this marketing transformation, CMOs will need to turn to AI and machine learning to deliver Intelligent Content systems that tie together their marketing performance data, segmentation intelligence, content management and marketing automation tools to dynamically create personalized advertising, email, web, and mobile messages in real-time. Creating this system of “intelligent content” is a major success factor for advanced personalization, and it makes it much easier to introduce AI-assisted enhancements once a robust system has been built. Ninety-five percent of companies are able to personalize messaging and experiences in some form based on customer data, with almost a fifth utilizing AI-driven predictive analytics to do so (Altimeter’s State of Digital Marketing 2020). This growth in the need to leverage automation to deliver the scale necessary will only increase over time.
As you work through your 2021 marketing plans, the above initiatives will likely loom large. I’ve learned that these types of transformations require much more than traditional modernization or just an IT-led view of technology. The work spans measuring performance, scaling technology, re-engineering workflows, creating content design systems and optimizing activities against business outcomes. The new CMO agenda is about personalizing customer interactions and achieving the scale of operations required to support it.
To learn more about how our work delivers data-centric and customer-centric marketing transformation for some of the leading companies in the world please reach out and we can connect directly.