Would you classify your marketing organization as "highly accountable"? What I mean is, are you always able to accurately measure the true business value of your marketing efforts, and do your senior leaders trust the results? If you're like most marketers, the honest answer to that question is a resounding "no". Proving the business value of multichannel marketing is getting progressively harder—and more important—because:
Traditional marketing measurement practices are rooted in stable but inflexible tactics that leave marketers ill-equipped to keep pace with the real time nature of channel digitization.
CFOs wield ever-more influence over marketing budgets, which is driving your CMO to lean harder on you to measure business results with scientific rigor.
Your customers are in control; uncertainty and unpredictability are the norm; and marketers that can't adapt appropriately are doomed to fail.
This is where you come in. I believe that Customer Intelligence professionals are remarkably well positioned to address these challenges head on, and improve marketing accountability across the enterprise. Why? Because you sit at the cross-section of unfettered access to mountains of customer data from a dizzying array of online and offline sources. "Big data" as the recent article data, data, everywhere in The Economist puts it, is big business. CI professionals are right in the middle of it all helping firms capture customer data, analyze it, measure business results, and act upon the findings.
We've seen it happen a thousand times before: a marketer gets excited about an emerging field like customer analytics or social media marketing, develops a sensible plan of action, and then runs face-first into reality, which looks something like this:
"HQ has already signed off on my budgets for this year; this will have to wait until next"
"Maybe if I can get Peter, Paul and Mary to agree to this at the regional marketing love-in, we can work together to convince global to consider it in the future"
"I heard the trial in North America is going well; but by the time the roll-out progresses through Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa, a year will pass"
"Stuff it; let's just do our own thing; HQ can worry about process and efficiency later"
In other words, adaptive brand marketing is hard for any company — but especially for multinational enterprises. But the world does wait for your next global conference call. Customers keep buying and talking and changing their behaviour, as do your competitors. MNCs have no choice other than to stay nimble in the age of the global matrix, which is the topic I'll speak about at Forrester's Marketing Forum 2010 in Los Angeles in April. See you there.