If Santa Claus Knows What Your Customers Are Doing, Shouldn’t You?

By | November 21, 2013

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/europedistrict/6481755579

This holiday season, Chief Marketing Officers are disappearing faster than the latest PlayStation. It seems that the exponential growth of data over the last two years has not only transformed marketing strategies, but is now transforming the CMO from brand champion to customer champion. CMO in the mirror, meet the new Chief Customer Officer. With Christmas right around the corner, it’s a title that comes complete with its own candy-cane-colored target.

CMOs and their teams are no longer just consumers of data rather, according to Forrester, they are the drivers of nearly half of all big data initiatives in their companies. Are CMOs finally getting in touch with their inner geek? Not exactly. CMOs are simply getting smarter about their data and listening to companies like McKinsey, which believes that big data can boost margins by 60%.

Traditionally, CMOs have had an obstructed view of the world around them as the result of siloed data and scattershot analytics. They may see customers at a moment in time, products for a certain period and strategies based on the questions they know enough to ask, but it has never been a truly complete picture. In the adopted role of a Chief Customer Officer, however, CMOs enjoy a 360-degree view of customers, in real time, across all channels: in stores, online, across social media, emails, mobile devices and more. More than just data-supported marketing strategies, CCOs navigate the world around them through data-driven marketing strategies. It’s a perspective that every CMO aspires to, but it takes a series of steps to get there.

The first step requires that CMOs integrate and understand data across all of their channels and touch points. This is the foundation for data-driven marketing, because you have to trust that you’re really seeing the big picture before you can begin to focus on individual customers. The good news is that never before in the history of the world has there been so much collectable data about customers, from web clicks to phone calls to physical locations. The challenges, ironically, read pretty much the same: too much data to collect and analyze.

Yet it’s here that technology can be the difference maker. While data continues to double every two years (think Moore’s Law), the costs of capturing and storing data continue to shrink. According to IDC, data storage today costs one-sixth of what it did just six years ago. And analytic data solutions are now available that can analyze vast amounts and types of data in microseconds—something that would have been unthinkable even a few years ago, but is possible now through new technologies like Hadoop and Flash-based memory.

For the new Chief Customer Officer, the first step is three-fold and looks something like this:

  • Capture all of the data from everywhere: all channels, all touch points and add third-party data sources to fill in the gaps;
  • Integrate all of the data into a single source that can be analyzed in real time;
  • And don’t be afraid to ask for what you really want from the data: conversion rates, ROI, member count increases, buyer churn, monthly downloads, etc.

In a sense, the new CCO is a model of that original Chief Customer Officer, who kept track of the naughty and nice, sleeping and awake, from his headquarters in the North Pole. Throughout the year, CMOs should aspire to have the same relationship with their own customers: to “see” customers when they’re shopping online, know when they’re in stores, and be alerted when experiences are bad or good.

Hope to see you here next week for the next step in achieving data-driven marketing success: Analyzing and Discovering the Value and Meaning of Data.


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Darryl McDonald

Darryl McDonald shapes global corporate strategy and spearheads business development and acquisitions for Teradata Corporation. In this capacity, he is charged with anticipating trends, driving business model innovation, and collaboratively aligning strategic priorities with business execution to increase shareholder value. He is a visionary leader and fierce advocate for implementing methods that boost innovation, unlock business potential, and accelerate growth using analytic technologies.

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2 thoughts on “If Santa Claus Knows What Your Customers Are Doing, Shouldn’t You?

  1. avatarKris Chronister

    Two things:

    1 – I’d love to see some research or credible data supporting the assertion that CMOs are dropping like flies…

    2 – Can we please just stop coining yet-another “CxO title du jour?” Like all denizens of the C-suite, the challenges and issues CMOs must address change all the time, and adaptation and innovation is necessary. But why do we feel a compulsion to jigger the title at every twitch? CCO, CDO, etc. etc. Why “CCO?” Why not just say the modern CMO must straddle brand and customer and be a data junkie instead of rolling out yet-another CxO title.


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