CMOs: Analytics, social media key to business strategy, but we're too swamped

CMOs: Analytics, social media key to business strategy, but we're too swamped

Summary: While CEOs are leaning hard on their marketing lieutenants to help drive business strategy, most CMOs admit their organizations are still unable to capitalize on the mountains of data they're already collecting.


A new IBM study finds that while 94 percent of enterprise chief marketing officers believe big data analytics will either make or break their organizations in the near future, 82 percent admit their companies are still unprepared to take advantage of all the information they're already collected from customers.

That's particularly disturbing news to CEOs who, according to the survey, are relying more and more on their top marketing lieutenants to help guide their overall business strategy and operations.

"It became evident that more companies across all industries are striving to integrate their physical and digital presence in order to provide a more integrated, seamless customer experience," John Kennedy, vice president of marketing for IBM Global Business Services, said in the report.

Sixty-three percent of CEOs now involve their CMOs in the business strategy planning process – CFOs are in the mix about 72 percent of the time – and those companies tend to perform better overall.

That value is derived from the avalanche of data collected from customer-facing apps and websites as well as social media snippets. The rub is that with so much information pouring in from so many different sources, most CMOs and their organizations are constantly playing catch-up and unable to convert that information into sales.

In-person conversations with more than 500 CMOs from 56 countries and 19 industries worldwide revealed that 66 percent of CMOs also feel underprepared for the growth at social media because it's "evolving at a pace faster than many can cope."

Ninety-four percent of top marketing executive also acknowledged that mobile applications will play an integral role in helping them reach their goals over the next three to five years.

Topics: Big Data, CXO, Social Enterprise


Larry Barrett is a freelance journalist and blogger who has covered the information technology and business sectors for more than 15 years.

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  • Frankly, a lot of the 'analytics' are useless and misleading

    Ask yourself this question: what do I want? Then you know how to make and market a product. Seriously. Someone in a third world country who needs your product, will have the basic same needs, attitudes, likes and dislikes as you do.

    You want:

    1. SIMPLICITY. EASE OF USE. Fewer steps or clicks than you had before. Not a lot of jargon or mumbo jumbo to learn or remember. Your wife/neighbor knows or looks for you to know, how to hook up the TV. Because, the dang thing is too COMPLICATED. So that's why PC and TV sales have slumped. The techies have gotten all full of themselves and their machines, but we the normal folk find it too complex and frankly.. silly.

    2. ATTRACTIVENESS. We like to work with pretty things. Rounded, bright colors, the surface stays clean, it makes cute noises.

    3. EASY TO FIX. Things break. We don't like spending money on something that breaks, but we mind it less when it's easy to fix.

    4. EASY TO UNDERSTAND. A billion gizmos fail to sell because they are hard to understand. Techies are forever creating stuff THEY understand but the average joe will not.

    5. FAMILIAR, PREDICTABLE, STABLE, DOESN'T CHANGE IN STRUCTURE. This is most important for sales of technical things -- the washer of 50 years ago is pretty much like today's in basic user-experience. Washers and dryers have been 'reinvented', and they don't sell well. Why? Because frankly they don't work as well, but they'd be tolerable if they passed this #5 test. Anything passing #5 will be accepted at #1-#4 more readily.

    Okay, now someone can pay me the millions of dollars uselessly spent on all this big data research. I wouldn't know what to do with that money, so now you companies go invest it in making $1-#5 come true for your customers?!

    MSFT, are you listening? No, of course not.
    • Watch how Amazon fulfills #1-#5

      1. SIMPLICITY. EASE OF USE. With Amazon, fewer steps or clicks are needed to search and buy what it offers, than competing websites or stores. So, I go shop there rather than drive a few miles to get what I want. Don't need some big data analytics, to tell you that's why the company succeeds.

      2. ATTRACTIVENESS. Amazon's website is attractive. Makes it pleasant to shop. That's why it's popular. We all know what's attractive when we see it. Don't need big data to tell us that.

      3. EASY TO FIX. What 'breaks' at Amazon, is sometimes a link or description. You intuitively know to go look somewhere else, re-search, etc. Often I can't find my reviews there (I've done hundreds), so I google on my name and the product, plus 'Amazon', and find it. Same for products I saw there but can't find when its own search engine breaks. You get the idea. (Same is true for Dell and any other place, including ZDnet articles you can't find within ZDnet, which frankly is also attractive.)

      4. EASY TO UNDERSTAND. Amazon allows customer reviews. We tend to get real anal about explaining why we like or don't like something, so the reviews should be the FIRST AND MAJOR CHOICE of anyone wanting to analyze sales. But the sellers, disregard us customers. Pity, for then they don't see WHY we buy or reject. WE TELL YOU IN OUR REVIEWS AND COMMENTS. And we the buyers, read what other buyers say. This makes Amazon successful, even when bad products are sold, because we get the 'intel' making the product easy to understand! We don't get it, from the sellers!

      Some sellers try to help. If you're into 'socialization', this is how you should direct it. Anker just wrote me an email wanting to know if their 7-port hub was useful to me. I only got it, a few days ago. That mattered to me. So the other 'easy to understand' aid is to follow up with the customer. If they understand that they can easily talk to you, that fits as 'easy to understand', even when there's a problem.

      5. FAMILIAR, PREDICTABLE, STABLE, DOESN'T CHANGE IN STRUCTURE. Best thing about Amazon, is it doesn't go changing its interface, and it's organized logically, intuitively. Wish I could say the same for PC websites (other than ZDnet, which is well organized), or any other website I've had to visit. Most websites, like most products, are slipshod, and they change in bad ways unpredictably. BAD MOVE. If you move the cheese, people stop buying it. MSFT's fracaso with Win8 should teach you that. Don't need no big data, it's COMMON SENSE!

      Okay, now I'll shut up.