Commentary

CMOs Should Help Creatives Get Comfortable With Data

The most recent Nielsen CMO survey found that nearly three-quarters of CMOs don’t believe in their creative marketing’s ability to drive results. Another 2018 CMO survey from Forrester found that 61% of CMOs are missing their business targets.

Meanwhile, marketers spent over $80 billion last year on technology promising to deliver insights crucial to successful marketing activity.

There’s an elephant in the room: a major disconnect between CMOs investing in data-driven solutions and the need for insights into the digital marketing creative process.  

At the same time, CMOs are losing the confidence of C-Suite peers over a complete lack of creative accountability. The trend is reverberating throughout marketing organizations and impacting marketing resources allocated to creative and production.

The state of play for CMOs
CMOs face corporate pressure to deliver results and manage a multifaceted team that includes both numbers-people and words-people.

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Creative marketers face pressure — tied to business models and customer acquisition — to deliver emotive and engaging campaigns that use the right words and visual language to connect with the right audiences and convert engagement to revenue.

Consumers sift through mountains of promotional email and encounter more ads online than anywhere else. Simultaneously, there’s a lot of brand noise thanks to new channels and consumer apps interrupting our feeds and online experiences relentlessly.

When facing challenges tied to bottom lines and the very survival of a brand, many CMOs revert to the same questions that applied to digital marketing in its infancy years ago:

Should we spend money on new media opportunities, like TikTok or podcasts, with the potential to drive massive amounts of new audience traffic despite high price tags, murky metrics and risky or unproven ecosystems?

Do we need to make personnel changes to get with the times and/or redirect more budget to tech?

Does the brand need to pivot or invest in a makeover that better fits the demands of today’s consumers?

Or do we just keep pouring money into the same martech technologies and tools? Or maybe it’s time to do a rebrand or hire a new agency?

Franky, I think it’s insane to keep doing the same things and expect different results.

I believe it’s important for today’s CMOs to answer a few central questions first:

How can we use innovative technologies like AI and humans together to break through to new levels of brand engagement and revenue performance?

How can both sides help our businesses keep pace with shifting consumer behavior without sacrificing brand voice?

Data informing creative has to be the right data
Marketers increasingly turn to data science and emerging technologies like artificial intelligence to find answers and, at the very least, inject accurate metrics into the marketing mix.

CMO-driven moves to adopt new tools and tech should be made in consultation with technology experts – and the purpose of using them to inform campaigns should be clearly communicated to campaign managers and creatives.

In the meantime, CMOs should take the necessary steps to tell creatives why data matters to their work and launch an internal dialogue to address concerns, criticisms and gaps in understanding.  

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