Highlights from IBM’s First CMO Influencer Huddle at Amplify

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Kimberly A. Whitler, Contributor

May 12, 2015

Customer engagement. How often is this phrase used? And yet, for many customers, companies are failing to really engage. In a recent IBM/Econsultancy report, nearly 80% of consumers say that brands behave as if they don’t really know them.

So how can marketers better engage with customers? In a way that generates long-term loyalty? And builds business results? IBM’s annual conference (May 11, 2015-May 13, 2015) was designed to answer these questions by providing insight on the strategies, tools, and techniques needed to amplify customer engagement. As part of the conference, IBM assembled a dinner of CMOs, VC firm leaders, and academicians to discuss the complex and evolving issues facing marketers today. Below are highlights from the discussion.

1)    Change is the Standard for Great Marketing Organizations: Given the pace of change for technology, systems, and analytics, the one constant is change. As Bryan Eisenberg (@TheGrok) suggested, better management of marketing in the future will require culture change.

2)    However, culture change starts with the CEO … CMOs can’t do it alone: Brian Fanzo (@iSocialFanz) indicated that a cultural shift goes beyond the CMO. It requires buy-in from the top and not a lot of companies are prepared to shift – or know how to shift – the  culture.

3)    Marketers need to Catch up  …  or Get out of the Way: As Ashu Garg (@ashugar), General Partner for Foundation Capital, indicated, managing the sophisticated and complex world that exists today requires re-tooling. Marketers will either need to get up to speed quickly and rise to the challenge, or they may be left behind.

4)    However, the CMOs that Catch up will be poised for the Corner Office: Garg suggested that the CMOs who effectively re-tool and can effectively manage the analytical demands of the job will be in the best position to succeed the CEO.

5)    The Path to CEO is through Consumer Data Conversion: The way to drive value is for CMOs to focus on being the catalyst for identifying, aggregating, understanding, and disseminating customer insight. Those CMOs who can convert big data into “smart data,” as Joelle Kaufman (@joelleonthego) suggested, will be in the best position to demonstrate why they should be the next CEO.

6)    CMOs should go beyond Brand Building to Legacy Building: As Olivier Blanchard (@thebrandbuilder) indicated, the best companies are focused on not just long-term metrics but inter-generational conversion. His example is Disney, whose objective is to create advocacy among children who then turn into evangelists 40 years later.

Join the Discussion: @KimWhitler

This article was written by Kimberly A. Whitler from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


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