Date Published 31 Jan 17

In 2013 Forrester told us that marketing had changed more in the last two years than in the previous fifty.

And last year The Economist confidently forecast that marketing will fundamentally transform, again, by 2020.

Why will the pace of change continue?

Since the internet has come of age we live in a world where the customer is very much in the driving seat … taking control and only approaching the marketing and sales guys once 70% of the purchase process has been already completed. They’re armed with facts that they’ve found from independent sources and recommendations from friends, colleagues and influencers on social media.

To ensure more involvement in the decision making process, brands are clamouring to place content on social and digital media channels. Their aim: to re-engage with their customers, to educate and to tell their story.

Data to Customer Data

Once a brand has put content out there it still needs to be measured. This is still marketing after all. We’re supposed to be trying to build brands, businesses and make sales! Vanity metrics like ‘likes’ don’t help us`: an 85% open rate means nothing if the campaign has no effect on purchase.

And although there’s an explosion of data out there, it’s not possible or necessary to measure everything.

By being selective with data, focusing on metrics that track the effectiveness of content against business goals, Marketing can transform its relationship with the customer and with the rest of the business. What marketing absolutely has to be able to do is understand how the content itself is working once it’s been opened: the best way to do this, is to track how it’s being read.

This creates a new generation of real time customer data that, in digital, can create real time improvements.

Customer Data is Business Data

In effect, new customer data becomes the hard currency that allows marketing to provide the glue to bind together business strategy, product development, sales and customer service. In fact, any function where understanding of the customer can improve efficiency, effectiveness and profitability. Having selected the right data to track, content can help us deliver against the customer needs we’ve identified and help us track whether we’re meeting those needs.

Data Driven to Customer Centric

Then, by presenting the customer data in easy dashboards that everyone across the business can understand, marketing can give the whole business a real time understanding of real life customers and how their requirements and purchasing behaviour evolve over time. Customer data becomes a cross-functional language, creating actionable insight that gears the whole business around the customer.

Mark Sallows presented at the #ExecLN CMO Event on June 9th (Green Park Conference Centre, Reading)

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