CIOs: Here’s why you need to know marketing

In a world where consumers are highly connected and informed, CMOs can no longer market broadly to a demographic as they did before. With the right set of analytics, marketers today can anticipate individual customer behaviours and needs to deliver the right offer at the right time through the right channel.

CIOs are increasingly recognised as a full fledged member of the executive team, much like their CMO peer. Their proven expertise in both business and technical matters is essential to drive new business initiatives and anticipate market shifts jointly with their fellow CMOs.

CIOs have to go beyond simply managing the prerequisites of data – storage, redundancy, recovery – to implementing business intelligence and new innovations such as entity analytics and predictive analytics across both structured and unstructured data.  CIOs realise that IT will lose its relevance if it only maintains the company’s status quo without helping it tackle Big Data to better business use.

The seismic shifts happening to marketing, the advancement in customer sentiment technology, and the array of channels from front desk to digital and social media mean CMOs and CIOs are no longer mutually exclusive spheres. Instead they share the same fundamental view of their business. This is fertile new ground for both sides to go beyond acquaintances to allies, blending the art of marketing with the science of data management into combined wisdom to ensure their company’s success by delighting customers.

As technology expands the way marketing is understood, led and practiced, opportunities are emerging for CMOs and CIOs to collaborate in new ways and transform their organisations to drive business growth.

Today, CMOs and CIOs have a shared agenda. Their focus is to identify new approaches to understand and engage the individual customer for maximum value, and define new ways of managing the external persona of reputation and brand in synchronicity with internal business processes and operations.

Simply put, CMOs and CIOs have to work as a tight knit team. If there is no alignment between the two, the promise of big data and analytics will have no chance to be translated into intelligence that can generate greater revenue and profits, as well as better returns on investments for the organisation.

The rapid digitisation of society has resulted in the two functions having to undergo major transformation. When we consider the astronomical rates of social media use and mobile penetration with the growing subscribership of fibre broadband in Singapore, to say it has more digital skyscrapers of data hardly qualifies as a bold statement.

Consumers today have an excessive plethora of research resources to ignite, influence and inform them on where to spend their money. The balance of power has shifted from the institution to the individual. If organisations are savvy enough, they understand the key to success is to be omnipresent in all channels with messages meaningful to their customers.

But even more important is the ability to determine when that customer is actually ready to make a purchasing decision. More and more, customers remain loyal only to companies that can anticipate their needs and interact with them in a personal way.

Whether in the form of online shopping histories, price-comparison apps, or tweets and Facebook “Likes”, the data explosion is threatening to swallow companies in Singapore and the rest of the world in a vast ocean of bytes. This massive wave of Big Data has swept both IT and marketing with equal impact.

Marketers have always compiled data to do their job, but CMOs today realise the existing techniques and tools are crumbling under the weight of Big Data, and so recognise technology’s central role, particularly analytics, in the delivery of successful marketing.

The writer is JoJo Cheung, director of marketing and communications, IBM ASEAN

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