They say that “change is the only constant”. It’s fair to say that in the 20 years I’ve been in marketing positions, the role of the CMO has changed completely.
The way CMOs and CIOs procure technology is distinctly different and unlikely to change in the near future, even as the two roles become more aligned.
This is the view of Ensighten president, Dan Dal Degan, who was visiting Australia last week to announce an expansion to the vendor’s local office, as well as plans to dominate the digital tag and data management markets globally.
Ensighten is focused on tackling the data challenges marketers face in managing multiple digital properties today, and has raised US$55 million since it launched in 2009 with a tag management system (TMS). The solution automates tag management across all Web properties as well as devices.
The company has also released a solution for Web data management called Activate, which is claims gives brands the ability to own and manage online data sets they previously couldn't harness.
Dal Degan has worked in the enterprise software space for more than 25 years, selling ERP and CRM solutions to the CIO or functional line executives for Oracle, Sybase and Siebel Systems. Prior to joining Ensighten in November, Dal Degan ran Salesforce’s US cloud business for three years, and said the position opened his eyes to the growing role marketing is taking in technology procurement.
He claimed chief marketing officers have a history of leveraging best-of-breed solutions across a wide variety of technologies and categories, and are aggressive and opportunistic about adopting point solutions if it gives them a competitive edge over the brands they compete with.
This lies in direct contrast to CIOs, who generally look for integrated technology suites to mitigate risk, minimise the number of vendors they do business with, and drive cost and operational efficiency, Dal Degan said.
“CIOs have historically been focused on efficiency as opposed to top-line growth,” Dal Degan told CMO. “Companies like Oracle and Salesforce will try to sell to the CMO as if he/she purchases like the CIO, but my experience and that of those who have worked in the enterprise software vendor space is that they don’t.
“CMOs are not buying the suite; they want the best solution in each category and they don’t mind the proliferation of solutions across the enterprise if they’re adding incremental value.”
Dal Degan also pointed to the “natural tension” that has existed between IT and marketing thanks to shadow IT.
“Most of this has been in marketing… and marketing has been the most aggressive area in companies that has been impatient with IT and developing their own technology skillset,” he claimed. “But we’re seeing this start to change. Most evolved CIOs have acknowledged that and partnered with CMOs in a way that’s more productive in those enterprises and reduces the amount of redundancy in skillsets.”
The persona and traditional image of the two c-level executives is also undergoing fundamental change thanks to technology’s role in marketing and customer interaction, Dal Degan continued.
“CIOs, who have been thought of as nerdy, shy technologists that emerged out of the data centre and were thrust into the leadership role is no longer true,” he said. “CIOs are increasingly business-savvy executives who’ve done tours of duty in line-of-business as well as have a deep understanding on technology.
“CMOs were traditionally seen as the ‘Don Draper’ character – charming, spendthrift and indiscriminate about campaigns, and who don’t want to be bothered with ROI or accountability. But today they’re increasingly technology savvy, understand the business and value of analytics to measure ROI and spend more effectively, as well as how to be competitively dangerous to other brands.”
Ensighten's data push
Ensighten is aggressively targeting global marketers with its TMS and data management solutions and acquired UK-based rival, Tagman, last December doubling its customer base to more than 300 organisations globally and expanding its presence into the UK and European market. The investment funds are also being used to boost sales, pre-sales, product innovation, and marketing capabilities globally.
Australia is another key market for Ensighten, and the group last week appointed former Tagman executive, Chris Brinkworth, as its new Asia-Pacific regional director based out of Sydney. Local customers include Virgin Australia, NAB, GE Capital and Suncorp, while global brands using its technology include Microsoft, Target, New York Times and American Express.
He pointed to a recent Forrester study that showed Ensighten customers have an average 525 per cent ROI on having tag management in place.
Dal Degan said target customers are brands with very high volumes of customers on their online properties such as retailers, healthcare, financial services, FMCG and high tech companies. “These are brands where a bad brand experience digitally is very bad for business because their success is driven by conversion rates of those people online,” Dal Degan said.
“To hear people talk about tag management in the market today, you might be led to the conclusion that it’s passé and everyone is doing this now,” Dal Degan commented. “In fact, of the brands we work with, about half don’t yet have a tag management system in place; even the biggest brands. It’s still a greenfield opportunity.”
However, the more valuable opportunity for Ensighten is with its Active data management platform, which was released late last year. The solution allows brands to own and manage marketing data associated with their Web properties, and then use this to respond and personalise interactions with customers in real time.
Dan Degan said several new customers have come on-board because of Ensighten’s Activate data management platform, such as the New York Times.
“We’re giving brands the ability to own their own marketing data associated with their Web properties instead of letting it slip through their fingers, which is what often happens today,” Dal Degan said. “We are playing the ‘traffic cop’ of data. All the traffic that comes to your online property is not only harnessed, but our solution means you can also own and retain that data, and then make offers back to customers in real-time at a massive scale and through all form factors.”Read more: MediaMath raises US$175m to accelerate global DSP growth
According to Dal Degan, the way brands currently have to buy back Web data from data management platform (DMP) providers such as Bluekai and Acxiom is an “odd inefficiency in the way this business has evolved”.
“Brands have been fully content to operate that way and buy back data that was once in their hands, because they didn’t have the mechanism to harness it,” he claimed. “We now deliver that.
“I’m often asked if we are a DMP or integration technology and I’m happy with either definition. The lines of demarcation are still being drawn. The difference is that while a DMP sells data back to the customer, we look to empower the customer to own their own data.”
The Holy Grail for CMOs is personalised marketing everywhere a customer touches that brand, Dal Degan added. “The brands that will be the winners are those who extend that brand identity and relationship in real-time at the moment of truth,” he said.
“Over time, marketers are going to find a lot of companies will start moving towards that destination of being enable to do personalisation at scale and across multiple touchpoints. We have the advantage of coming it at from the angle we do, which is tag management, and we believe we sit in the idea position literally on the Web page to take that role and allow brands to own the data.”