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Competitive Strategy Thoughts

The coming crisis for the Chief Marketing Officer

It’s pretty clear that Chief Marketing Officers (CMO) will face a kind of Hunger Games scenario over the next few years. In its top 10 market predictions for CMOs in 2014 – in which #9 was “fragmented marketing IT point products and low adoption rate will inhibit companies' ability to win customers” – IDC foretold a total marketing reformation.

"Buyers are evolving their purchase practices faster than vendors are changing their marketing practices. It's not a matter of doing the same things better. The Chief Marketing Officer cannot avoid broader responsibility as the digital customer experience bursts traditional boundaries," said Kathleen Schaub, Vice President of the IDC CMO Advisory Service. “IDC predicts that by 2020, marketing organizations will be radically reshaped. The core fabric of marketing execution will be ripped up and rewoven by data and marketing technology."

Oracle recently published one of my now favorite inforgraphics on this pain CMO’s face. The infographic highlights critical issues, such as 82% of enterprise marketers have no synchronized view of their data, and 65% of CMOs can’t measure ROI across their digital marketing efforts.

This coming crisis is forcing CMOs to decide now whether they’re going to be the steamroller or the road technology-wise. The question (as always) is where to focus, and what tools are required? To master the growing number of disparate data sources that multiple point solutions create, the smart money is on a single, unified view. Automation, email, social, mobile, and an ocean of content call out for an underlying structure that makes data truly useful across the enterprise.

Marketing clouds are beginning to provide this unifying logic, with integrated management platforms that present data as actionable intelligence. The best of these organically aggregate and enhance customer data across channels. It is this kind of centralized data (with intuitive views) that provides the best individual experiences. That’s the very heart of consumerization and mass personalization.

Truly contextual and relevant content across multiple personas and lifecycles gets its best shot in the marketing cloud as well. Accelerated purchasing, better conversions, retention and brand evangelism are all enriched by data-driven content targeting. And it’s elementary at this point that only an open source marketing cloud can combine all of the data sources, technologies and processes required to manage a universe of possible customer experiences.

The drive to reach customers where (and when) they are is driving point solution adoption. Marketers are scrambling to find the best system to communicate with end users at the right channel, but there are few that cover all channels well. Making the right choice will decide the fate of marketing organizations going forward. Marketing Cloud technologies that place the customer – and their data – at the center of their solution are the ones that will truly be able to help the marketing organization meet its rapidly expanding role and goals.

Amanda Cash-Crowley