Why CMOs Should Care About Data

Last Published: Dec 23, 2021 |
Jennifer McGinn
Jennifer McGinn

Sr. Director of Product Marketing

Digital transformation has presented a needed shift in the role of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). Although the CMO has always been responsible for driving market growth, differentiation and bottom-line revenue, leading CMOs are now more than ever hyper-focused on creating exceptional customer experiences across all channels.

Key responsibilities for CMOs include:

Key responsibilities for CMOs
  • Executing marketing strategy and campaigns to drive customer adoption and sales
  • Generating demand for products, goods and services
  • Creating exceptional customer experiences
  • Executing the customer lifecycle – from prospect to customer
  • Designing the optimal digital and in-person experience for customer segments

With so much focus on customer experience as a key differentiator, it is no surprise that CMOs are being forced to reevaluate how and why they make decisions. Not only do CMOs direct outbound corporate and brand messages to consumers, they are now also playing the role of listener. They need to be diligent in how they understand both direct and indirect customer feedback. This feedback can be measured through Net Promoter Scores (NPS) or through social listening. Customer sentiment and intent may also be hidden in sales notes, web chats, and customer service call logs, which in the past had rarely if ever been taken into consideration by marketers. CMOs need to better understand and listen to their customers so they can in turn adjust campaigns and messages.

The key to a CMO’s success? Data. By using data and analytics to know everything they can about their customers, CMOs are able to make data-driven decisions. The catch is that, although there is no shortage of available data, it is not always easy to access, easily understood, or even reliable. Cutting through the noise in social media or consuming insights from unstructured sources such as emails is difficult and prone to misinterpretation if not done at scale. Key challenges include:

  • Data explosion – Growth in social media, digital channels and devices provide an opportunity of untapped data that marketers have yet to easily extract and use
  • Data infrastructure – Investment in analytics is outpacing the investment in a data foundation, resulting in less than optimal results for next best action/offer initiatives
  • Customer experience – The omni-channel customer experience is getting more complex requiring marketers to create an integrated and seamless journey for the customer

CMOs are poised to bridge the gap between ‘the business’ and ‘IT’ by setting requirements for management of and access to customer data. Customer data needs to be managed in a way that provides marketing with agile, insightful views of every customer. CMOs are driving a key aspect of the customer data technology landscape, which is the ability to store and gain self-service access to customer data and insights. As CMOs set priorities on key use cases, which may include omni-channel marketing, personalized campaigns, or compliance with privacy regulations, they can work with IT to identify which sources of data are needed to support the initiatives and how that data is brought together.

CMOs benefit greatly from a close relationship with both IT and Chief Data Officers (CDOs). CDOs are tasked with building an underlying data foundation to support all areas of the business. A strategic relationship between a CDO and CMO is critical as marketing becomes more data-driven. Register for our upcoming webinar, Why marketers should be obsessed about data, to learn more about this key role.

First Published: Jul 15, 2019