Content, data and integration should top list for CMOs

IDC CMO analyst Richard Vancil tells marketers at a special briefing to embrace systems-based marketing, content marketing and data-driven capabilities

CMOs must start embracing a systems-based marketing approach and invest in content and data excellence if they’re to transform their organisations to meet the buying cycle of today’s customer, IDC’s lead CMO analyst claims.

Speaking at a briefing for technology marketers at the analyst firm’s Sydney offices, IDC group vice-president of the Executive Advisory Group, Richard Vancil, outlined three marketing imperatives for marketing chiefs to consider in 2014 as a way of improving operational efficiency, communicating with customers, and helping their organisations transform into digitally-oriented businesses.

The first is to embark on a cultural transformation towards ‘systems-thinking’ marketing. The way to achieve this is to stop thinking of marketing teams and channels in siloes, and instead as intersecting circles, he said.

“Almost every organisation we talk to is trying to transform, and they’re facing big challenges because it is extremely difficult,” Vancil said. “If CMOs are going to further break down the barriers and transform their organisations, they need to think less about siloes and more about systems-thinking marketing.”

As an example, Vancil pointed out product, field and corporate marketing teams have traditionally operated in siloes, leading to independent and cluttered messaging. He advised marketers to avoid product marketing teams providing direct messaging to the field or sales team and embrace a consistent flow of information, assets and content involving all three parts of the marketing function.

“The ideal supply chain is to have product lines send information to a campaign management function, then to the sales enablement function within marketing, then have content provisioned to the field,” Vancil said. This approach will also help marketing cut down on producing ‘too much stuff’ for sales teams to use and reduce costs, he said.

Marketers also continue to operate a silo/single channel approach across digital areas such as social media, advertising, Web, search and email, relying on unique databases and unique content for each. These should be united into one customer marketing database, and a content pool that can be drawn down channel by channel, he said.

As a second imperative for CMOs, Vancil stressed the importance of building stronger content marketing competencies. Ninety-six per cent of Australian marketers are currently using content marketing tactics, allocating 25 per cent on average of their total marketing budget, yet around two-thirds are still not happy with their effectiveness.

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Vancil’s third imperative for CMOs is to design and execute a 12-18 months roadmap for data-driven marketing. “Nothing can change without marketing automation excellence,” he said.

According to IDC’s latest US annual benchmarking survey of marketers across IT vendor client companies, 35 per cent of respondents predict marketing automation will be one of the top three areas of program spend in the next three years. Marketing automation took up 3 per cent of the discretionary dollars available in the marketing function in 2012 and leapt by 31 per cent to 3.9 per cent this year.

Marketing IT budgets will also increase for 57 per cent of those surveyed, led by services spending, IDC’s research found.

More exclusive content from the IDG CMO advisory team on CMO:

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