Note: This blog first appeared on Wired Insights on March 22, 2013 and is reprinted here with permission.
Having known and worked with many CMOs, I appreciate how hard their job is. The job is notoriously thankless and has a very high turn over rate.
In addition to the day-to-day stresses of the job, now the CMO has to juggle expectations that come with growing tech budgets. Gartner’s prediction last year that CMO IT budgets will surpass CIO IT budgets in the next 5 years has dozens, if not hundreds, of software companies targeting the CMO. Just how the CMO can effectively use technology remains elusive.
- Insights from big data sets aren’t easy to come by: Big company marketing analytics spending will go up 13% for companies spending $10 billion or more according to a recent survey by CMOSurvey.org.. However, in that same survey companies said they have only 30% usage rate of existing analytics tools.
- Experimental social media and revenue generation strategies: As was widely reported this week, Coke, with its more than 61.5 million likes on Facebook, found when it ran social media through the same criteria as other marketing efforts, saw “no material impact on short term sales.” Or take this blog from one of the digital leads at Edelman, the world’s largest PR agency, where he describes one tactic that social media departments widely used during the Oscars as “experimental.”
- Brand mobile app development: In 2011, 91% of Fortune 100 companies already had their own custom mobile apps. But with the expense of developing apps, the expected sales metrics around brand app development will surely grow. An Internet Retailer survey found 41.6% of retailers will spend less than $25,000 on mobile (includes mobile web site and mobile apps) – the budgets and expectations will no doubt increase. It starts to make sense when companies like Walmart.com acquire a mobile app development agency to create more strategic apps, faster and ultimately, for less money.
- SaaS Environments Are Still Work in Progress: Public clouds such as Amazon AWS drive much of the mobile app economy and SaaS applications. Outages with these services are widely reported when they impact popular services such as Netflix. My personal favorite story is when Salesforce.com famously announced one solid month of uptime in 2006 and a month later experienced an outage. 6 years later, the Salesforce.com outages continued.
I don’t have a crystal ball, but I suggest a few simple rules to all the CMOs out there who want to hear my opinions:
- Find great technology partners: Find technology partners with your digital agencies or other resources who can track and keep up with the fast moving technology landscape. How are vendors like Pentaho finding actionable insights using big data analytics? What are the advantages to building a multimedia corporate news portal using Liferay? As Gartner said this year, forward thinking CMOs have hired “chief marketing technologists” and yet another 50% outsource their digital marketing.
- Remember Intel Inside: In this landscape full of outages and pitfalls, look for ways to ensure your apps and products will work. If you are developing your own apps and software, team with an organization like RightScale who can help you deploy a multi-cloud approach in case the cloud infrastructure goes down. If you are investing heavily in SaaS solutions, ask your SaaS provider what IaaS they use and push them to use a multi-cloud management software like RightScale. It’s like the Intel Inside ads from decades past. You might not care about the processor in your computer, but you do want peace of mind that it will work when you need it.
- Move beyond expensive experimenting: Begin to hold your marketing campaigns to the metrics of all of your initiatives. Social media budgets are huge, and in my opinion, when used right they are wildly useful to a brand for things such as crisis communication, community building and maybe at times sales generation. Make sure the budget matches the value when you are experimenting. It’s fine if big agencies experiment, but they shouldn’t be charging exorbitant amounts when they are testing new tactics on your dime.
Disclosure: Pentaho and Liferay are clients of Clement/Peterson. Bret Clement is founder of Clement/Peterson, a tech PR firm with full time staff in Boston, Denver and San Francisco.