Big Data Comes to Marketing?

©IDG Communications, Inc. Photo contributed by Matthew Mikaelian.

 

 

Rich Vancil

What’s the most commonly heard word in marketing organizations today? It is “Transformation.”

Dramatic transformational change is sweeping through marketing functions in most industries. And the main “change agent” is the customer. Or what we at the IDC Executive Advisory like to call the “New Buyer” . Our customers and prospects today are crafting their own routes to learning about products and services. They are motivated and skilled at educating themselves and learning from peers. They travel through numerous digital pathways in their exploration process. And by the time they come to a meeting with the vendor sales person, they are smart and savvy. They are empowered.

Marketers need to ask and answer these questions: Where did our Buyers come from? What do they know already? And above all: How do we add new value to where they are in the process of discovery about our product or service? The New Buyer dynamic creates volumes of new data and customer intelligence analysis opportunities for vendors.

In turn, Those in the marketing job function must be able to bring better data into any planning meeting, including discussions on budgets and investments; programs and campaigns; or performance measurement. Hard data needs to complement the “softer side,” or the “art,” of marketing.

The tools for accessing and mining data, and turning data into insights, are now plentiful for today’s marketers. And, The marketing job function might be the last of all an organization’s major functions to become automated.

The marketing winners of tomorrow will be masters of rapid data management — able to turn data into intelligence, intelligence into analysis, and analysis into decision support and execution. Achieving this will be the first step in the rudiments of sales-to-marketing cost control.

For the CMO, there are three critical, inter-departmental, data-driven intersections that need to be created and nurtured. Marketing is now too important to run in isolation, so here are the three key intersections:

1. The Marketing and CIO intersection. New IDC research shows that the investment in marketing automation technologies in 2012 will be at three to four times the rate of 2011 levels. Automation technology development is going to sweep through sales and marketing over the next 10 years.

2. The Marketing and Sales (CSO, or Chief Sales Officer) intersection. Today, the CMO needs to be able to connect sales technologies, such as CRM, with new marketing automation technologies.

3. The Marketing and CFO intersection. The CMO needs to deliver a return on investment in measurable terms in order to have meaningful budgeting and planning discussions with the CFO. Measuring impact of push programs in terms of conversion to leads, opportunities, and revenue is the game today.

I like to say that there will be more change in Marketing in the next five years, than we have seen in the past 25 years combined. These Marketing data and IT automation issues will be at the forefront for the next generation of successful CMOs.

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