This blog is part of our ongoing series, “CIO-CMO Alignment for the New Era of Digital.” To see all content in this series, click here.
Digital has changed daily life. Now, it’s driving transformation for B2B businesses — and it’s forcing the C-suite to prioritize alignment and collaboration across departments.
As a result, the role of chief marketing officer (CMO) has evolved. Digital marketing now requires more sophisticated technology and better data. In order to deliver an optimized buyer experience, CMOs have to set new priorities and collaborate with their chief information officer (CIO) counterparts and IT teams.
It starts with understanding how the role of the CMO has changed over time, their priorities, and up-and-coming marketing trends that CMOs should have on their radar.
How the CMO role has changed in the last 10 years
Traditional business practices dictate that the CMO serves as the creative visionary. But today, with the customer squarely at the center of any organization’s success, marketing leaders have to embrace technology and customer data in order to provide the digital experiences their customers demand.
CMOs now see the need for sophisticated technology in order to better understand who the customer is, what they need, and how they move through the sales funnel. Modeling that journey combines creativity and data. Advanced technology platforms like customer relationship management tools (CRM), customer data platforms (CDPs) and digital asset management tools (DAM) unify customer data to create a 360-degree view of their activity.
Accelerated by the need for digital transformation, CMOs and CIOS are teaming up to achieve their shared goals across business development, customer experience, and more. With a CMO’s deep understanding of marketing and the customer journey, and a CIO’s ability to integrate systems and utilize data, this alignment puts the customer’s digital experience at the center of it all.
What are a CMO’s biggest priorities?
Today, CMOs have marketing goals that require a technology infrastructure with robust data and analytics to support the customer journey. That focus is reflected in the top priorities that successful CMOs will focus on for the next six months to a year:
Apple has released its Safari Intelligent Tracking Prevention, allowing the web browser to block cookies and preserve the privacy of personal data, and Google is expected to complete phasing out third-party cookies sometime in 2022. With only first-party cookies being available, marketers will need to focus on personalized marketing strategies that leverage first-party data to create rich relationships with their customers.
This is where improved segmentation comes in. Segmentation is the practice of breaking up your current and potential customers into groups that share specific criteria, such as demographics, behaviors, and needs. With the right data, segmentation will be easier, more accurate, and more granular.
B2B Data Analytics
Data-driven insights are crucial to understanding a buyer’s needs and delivering a relevant, targeted user experience. In order to create a 360-degree view of the customer, CMOs have to have data that is accurate, relevant, and drives meaningful change.
A customer data platform (CDP) can help make that happen. A CDP is a software tool that combines first-party data from different sources to create a single, centralized customer database. It can include behavioral, transactional, and demographic data, giving CMOs a full view of a customer and all of their interactions. The CMO can use data to understand how buyers interact with the site and make strategic optimizations.
As B2B companies turn to new platforms and processes, increased automation will be crucial. Automation transforms manual, tedious processes into flows that run efficiently and minimize error.
Marketing and IT teams can work together to automate content creation, data analysis, insights generation, and orchestration. It’s possible to incorporate personalization when automating marketing processes, providing the best of both worlds: a better experience for the buyer and saved time for the team. Ultimately, this level of automation allows CMOs to maximize team resources and deliver at scale.
Increased CIO-CMO Alignment
As digital transformation becomes crucial to B2B business success, CIOs and CMOs can no longer afford misalignment. To drive business growth and increase marketing ROI, CMOs need to find collaborative ways to optimize the customer experience, automate, integrate, and scale.
Moving forward, the most successful CMOs will integrate with their CIO to create a customer-first experience that is rooted in extensive marketing expertise and a sophisticated IT architecture. This partnership is what will make digital transformation possible — today and in the years to come.
Marketing trends for B2B marketers
We’ve entered a new era of digital. As more consumers moved online for their personal shopping, they encountered a higher level of sophisticated personalization, more relevant and tailored content, and a smoother, turnkey purchasing process. And those B2C experiences have changed B2B buyer expectations.
Today’s marketing trends support a consumer-focused user experience that is driven by digital transformation. These trends include data analytics, segmentation and targeting, personalization, and content for SEO and lead generation.
Each of these areas is data-driven, allowing CMOs to fine tune their marketing to better connect with buyers. These areas also help create a personalized, targeted, and relevant user experience that increases conversion and repeat purchases.
Trends indicate what’s top-of-mind now and what’s important for the future. With knowledge of these key trends, today’s CMO can step into their role and set the stage for an effective digital marketing strategy.
If you’re ready to execute on your priorities with cross-team collaboration, get started by downloading our white paper Solutions For The C-Suite: How CIO And CMO Collaboration Drives Digital Innovation.