Five Stations on the Consumer Engagement Line
The five forces of the Consumerization of Information Technology (CoIT) do not just affect the chief information officer (CIO). The impact of social media, Big Data, analytics, mobility, cloud computing and unified communications will be felt across every business unit and across every enterprise. However, it is the office of the CMO - the organizational executive responsible for the "front of house" - which will be increasingly exposed to the challenges presented by consumerization. As a result, marketing leaders will face significant new strategic and technology decisions in the next two years.
Outdated theories and metrics, however, frame the practice of business marketing and continue to inhibit the ability of marketers to respond to the rapidly changing consumerized landscape. CMOs need to plan and execute against a new vision of the connected consumer.
The connected consumer, who uses a range of digital and social networking technologies, discovers, debates and decides on purchases in a completely new way. These processes occur almost completely independent of your brand, your communications and the messages they carry. The connected consumer may share your Facebook fan page with friends and buy your products on the way home. She or he may be your greatest critic or your staunchest defender. They blog, tweet, write reviews, self-publish books and hold online film festivals. They are influencers in their own right.
Marketers need to adopt a long-term view that demotes the campaign-based thinking that has dominated the marketing agenda for decades, replacing it with a focus on relationships, value and customer experience.
Companies that are prepared for the future do three things right when it comes to digital marketing. First, they understand the customer journey as a series of flows between touch points over time - and plan and execute their marketing plans accordingly. Second, they understand the power of data and analytics to create a deeper understanding of that customer and the approaches that can deliver customer engagement at scale. And finally, CMOs are recasting the marketing funnel to model and map the customer journey to better direct their marketing investments.
It is often said that companies only have two functions - marketing and innovation. Yet, most corporate marketing practices are based on century-old theories and ideas that no longer adequately accommodate the complexities faced by today's chief marketing officers (CMOs). Rather than taking the inside-out view offered by the traditional marketing funnel, marketers need to develop a view of the customer journey that takes into account the challenges and opportunities presented by digital and social technologies.