Talk to enough CMOs–I’m approaching 150 such conversations–and you’ll perceive an underlying trepidation when it comes to their job function. Some of this stems from the age-old “responsibility without authority” quagmire, but more recently the anxiety relates to the rise of data-driven activities, such as CRM, programmatic media, and marketing automation.
As Tim McDermott, CMO of the Philadelphia 76ers, put it: “It’s almost like you’re a technology officer.”
My new book, “The CMO’s Periodic Table: A Renegade’s Guide to Marketing,” features interviews with 64 masters of their craft, including some who lean heavily to the science side and others who employ an artist’s intuitive touch. In Part 1 of this series, I’ll introduce you to some of the “scientists” who have harnessed the power of data to drive sales and minimize the unpredictability of their efforts.
“My team still cringes when I say, ‘You can’t eat awareness.’” –Dan Marks
When Dan Marks started as the CMO of First Tennessee Bank, the financial world was in turmoil and his budgets were under extreme pressure. To fend off cuts, Dan and his team developed a system for gathering and analyzing marketing metrics, which enabled them to look back at the impact of 84% of their marketing spend and predict with reasonable accuracy what would happen when budgets went up or down. Needless to say, this approach greatly appealed to his boss, kept budgets intact, and allowed the bank to increase share while competitors cut spending.
“The last three years of my career have seen an amazing transformation from what it means to be a marketer.” –Tim McDermott
Philadelphia 76ers CMO (and former Philadelphia Eagles CMO) Tim McDermott knows a thing or two about marketing sports teams, especially ones that haven’t always performed well on the court or field. Seeking to build multidimensional fan relationships, Tim has made data a major part of his marketing strategy. As he puts it, “We’re heavily invested in infrastructure, software, and human capital in order to re-engineer what we’re doing on the data-science side.” While this is very much a work in progress, Tim acknowledges his own team can now take a far more sophisticated, data-driven approach.
“At Visa the ultimate measure of success for our marketing is ROI—our ability to drive the business.” –Antonio Lucio
When I first interviewed Antonio Lucio, he was deep into his tenure as CMO at Visa, where he prescribed a three-tiered measurement approach. Lucio’s short-term metrics included reach and impact, with recall being a proxy for reach and “usage lift” the gauge for impact. Lucio’s third tier was long-term impact, which he defined “as lift in our brand equity and our ability to influence consumer behavior longer-term.” And while all of the above are critical effectiveness measures for just about any brand, Lucio never stropped looking for others, noting, “Our key performance metrics evolve to address changing dynamics in the industry.”
A huge focus has been on connecting context, content, and commerce capabilities.” –Mayur Gupta
Listening to Mayur Gupta during his time as global head of marketing technology at Kimberly-Clark was like having a private hotline to the future. Mayur described KC’s mission, for example, as “delivering seamless experiences in a complex omnichannel world” and referred to data as the “oil” that fueled this effort. Mayur also outlined the new Cs of modern marketing—context, content, and commerce—and explained that merging these elements is essential to success. Only by having the right data at just the right moment in the customer journey can marketers make smart decisions that “drive relevant, personalized, contextual, and seamless consumer experiences.”
“If only marketing were a science.” –Drew Neisser
I could go on with the “scientists” I spoke to, sharing, for example, how 3M’s Raj Rao has developed proprietary algorithms to track customer insights, or how L.L. Bean’s Steve Fuller has deployed programmatic media to help drive online sales. But instead, I’ll wrap up with the observation that the job of the CMO is way too complex to rely on one approach or even one part of the brain.
As you’ll see in Part 2 of this series, many great marketers still leave lots of room for intuition and unfettered creativity.
See what the Twitterverse is saying about data-driven marketing: