Commentary

Driven By Data: A New Era For The CMO

Shifting consumer expectations have changed the fundamental elements of the modern CMO role to be one that fuses traditional marketing areas — creativity, branding, strategy, etc. — with growing amounts of data. The most successful brands will use this data-driven marketing approach to better understand customers and uncover what drives, inspires, motivates and engages them.

That understanding paves a clear path for truly serving their needs and creating a relationship that benefits the brand and customer alike over the long term. Brands like Amazon and Toyota are good examples of companies doing this successfully today. That understanding paves a clear path for truly serving their needs and creating a relationship that benefits the brand and customer alike over the long term.

There are many tools available today that measure how people travel through a website or what they do after downloading an app or piece of collateral. That’s valuable, but by digging deeper, CMOs can use that data to analyze how a brand is perceived by its customers. 

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The Value of Authenticity

One of the most important things that CMOs should strive for is authenticity, as this measure directly affects customers’ user experience. Marketers can measure authenticity quantitatively by tracking positive vs. negative interactions, time spent on a site or app, and through a Net Promoter Score, among other elements. 

Customer data shows that a foundational element for brand authenticity is establishing a consistent identity across all touchpoints throughout the customer journey. Consider the experience of purchasing a car. A person has just moved to a new city that provides easy access to outdoor activities and she wants to get out and enjoy nature. She determines to replace her compact car with a crossover SUV. She starts paying closer attention to TV commercials and seeking out crossover models that suit her needs during the week as well as for weekend adventures. 

She sees a model she likes, and starts gathering information and forming opinions. Commercials show it climbing a mountain road, loaded with camping gear. The typeface used in the commercial is strong and modern. The brand’s website has all the specifications in the same typeface as the commercial, set against the same visual backdrop. 

While on the test drive, she feels comfortable with the in-console screen and realizes that it is consistent with the commercials and the website. 

She turns to social media for opinions about the model, and finds Instagram posts by customers like her. Pictures and short videos show the car parked in camp sites, set against a mountain sunrise, or covered in dirt from mudding. This is user-generated content made by real customers, and further cements her decision to make the purchase. 

While much has been said about the changing role of the CMO, the growing importance of data and how it can be used to inform marketing strategies is key to the evolution of the role. While the scenario described here is just one use case, the underlying elements can be applied in just about any category. Successful brands will go deep beneath the surface of available data to understand how key audiences perceive them, and use that information to provide authentic experiences that meet customer expectations across brand interactions. The best brands will use that information to exceed those expectations.

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