IBM announces customer tools to keep the CMO and CIO happy

As businesses realign around marketing and technology, the CMO and CIO can no longer afford to operate on separate stages. To succeed, they will have to forge a shared agenda to deliver the right business results.
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

According to Gartner, by 2017, the CMO will have greater control of the IT budget than the CIO. Marketing budgets will grow 7-8 per cent over the next 12 months, which is 2-3 times that of IT budgets.

Eileen Brown ZDNet Social_Media_Marketing
Credit: Paola Peralta

The IBM Institute for Business Value talked to more than 1700 CMOs from 64 countries and 19 industries to produce the 2011 CMO study.

The study reveals that 82 per cent of CMOs say they plan to increase their use of social media over the next three to five years but feel that they remain mired in 20th Century approaches.

There has been an explosion of data. Every day we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data and 90 per cent of data has been created in the last two years.

Combine that with data about in-store traffic, conversations with call centers and updates from suppliers. It is a daily deluge of data waiting to be sifted for nuggets of intelligence that marketers can act upon to boost their business.

The convergence of social and mobile is prompting organizations to revisit old websites to create new experiences to better reach and engage with audiences. Web data has evolved to include social media, videos, and web forms, as well as traditional data such as financial, customer and order data, and transactions.

CMOs recognise that there is a critical and permanent shift occurring in the way they engage with their customers. They do question whether their organisations are prepared to manage the change.

Sumit Sawhney, Vice President of marketing for GM India says that CMOs “know they need to respond more quickly and create dialogues instead of one way communication”.

The growing number of smartphones, mobile and tablet devices are also becoming a priority for CMOs. Mobile commerce is expected to reach $31 billion by 2016.

With the growing number of mobile devices, social networks and social media tools on the rise, CMOs struggle to reach their audiences and to provide access to company data on every type of device for a geographically distributed workforce.

At the same time, CIOs are facing a similar struggle within the organization's walls. That same empowered consumer is today's empowered employee striving to meet deadlines and deliver superior results at an even faster pace.

According to IDC, employees typically see up to 30 per cent increased productivity if they use social tools internally to complete their work.

Despite their growing reliance on technology and their soaring budgets, CMOs readily admit they lack the skills that IT requires. According to the IBM CMO Study, while 79 per cent of CMOs expect high levels of complexity in their job over the next five years, only 48 per cent feel prepared to deal with it.

With the pressure on businesses to be profitable, CMOs now feel they need to be able to quantify the value they bring to the business.

63 per cent of CMO’s also believe that ROI on marketing spend will be the most important measure of their success by 2015. However, only 44 per cent feel themselves to be fully prepared to be accountable for ROI.

Social Platforms mean that now everyone can become a publisher, broadcaster and critic. Marketers use social media as a key channel to communicate. Although 56 per cent of CMOs view social media as a key engagement channel they find it a challenge to capture customer insight from the real time conversations.

'One of the biggest challenges are the many channels open to communicate with people’ says Carey Rountree, Vice President of Marketing at the Georgia Aquarium.

From digital marketing and mobile commerce, to websites and social media, marketers are inundated -- often paralyzed -- by data amassed from consumers via searches, purchase histories, Facebook "likes" and comments on Twitter.

IBM has announced two tools to help help CMOs and CIOs better reach and engage with their audiences.

The Customer Experience Suite gives CMOs the power to manage and integrate all types of data on their web sites and then analyze it for deeper insight into customer buying patterns and sentiment.

The suite consists of the Websphere portal, Web Content Manager, IBM Forms and IBM Connections in a single view. The IBM Intranet Experience Suite pulls together company information and data, personalized content and news, and social media and analytics, enabling employees to connect, collaborate and access information.

Consumers have unlimited access to information and can instantly share it with the world. This immediacy has raised consumers' expectations for 100 per cent personalized communications and great service.

It is critical for CMOs to not only be aware of and monitor the social conversation, but to truly understand the sentiment and interact one-on-one with that customer.

Now the challenge will be to keep both the CMO, the CIO and the customer happy, making the information readily available whilst keeping the customer in control of the conversation.



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