By now you’ve heard many times over that, according to research by Gartner, CMOs will soon be spending more per year on technology than their CIO counterparts. That, of course, means marketing and technology exectuives need to become best buddies--and fast.
Indeed, in many enterprise organizations, CMOs already have a larger budget. Thus, CMOs need to hone their tech skills while also making sure their companies are maximizing their values. Otherwise, technology and marketing “solutions” will be more hassle than helpful.
Another issue is lurking, too: Even though CMOs are slated to spend more, statistics suggest that B2B marketers aren’t doing very well with marketing technology. In fact, 75 percent of those with marketing automation already in place report said they are not getting the most out of it, according to SiriusDecisions. It has also been reported that 10 percent of businesses are using marketing automation technology to tackle programs later on in the buying cycle, which means marketing tech really isn’t being optimized. Finally, according to Frost & Sullivan/Bulldog Solutions, 62 percent of CMOs with marketing automation reported that technology hasn’t increased their sales in the slightest.
For many CMOs, this tech change is scary. Those who act have the chance to remain relevant and innovative. Those who don’t act could go the way of the dinosaur.
Success Requires Change
Clearly, something is amiss, but it’s probably not the technology. It’s how CMOs are using it. Or not.
Success metrics need a makeover, and it’s up to CMOs to make that happen. You can’t just buy the technology and hope for (or expect) the best. The value of technology requires the right approach, starting with demand-generation strategies.
Statistics show that organizations with lead-generation processes that have been honed, studied, and crafted dish up optimal results. In fact, these “mature lead-generation” practices supply a 9.3 percent higher sales rate than “immature” practices, according to CSO Insights. Companies that excel at nurturing leads enjoy a sales increase of 50 percent, along with 33 percent lower costs. Those are the kinds of figures CMOs need to pursue.
Slow And Steady?
Surveys also show that a number of CMOs design and then execute their strategies piece by piece. That’s a mistake. Yes, you need to take care and time with each part of the process in order to make the most of the buyer’s journey, but be careful: If you are in the habit of firing tactics one stage at a time, and then moving onto the next phase without looking back, you’re in for trouble.
For example, an end goal of generating responses is actually a short-term, short-sighted mission. Instead, you need a strategy to pair up with the total buying process, which is directed via insight from buyers. Such a strategy comprises three major phases:
- Engaging buyers
- Nurturing relationships
- Converting buyers into customers
This process should be the foundation of a demand-generation strategy. (The fourth step? Turn those customers into advocates.)
During the engagement phase, potential buyers need to be engaged with both inbound and outbound strategies. Remember, inbound is ongoing; however, both strategies require fine targeting and a constant evolution of strategies. Nurturing requires CMOs to keep the dialogue going while continuing to profile customers. It’s also a perpetual phase. Finally, conversion requires escalation of the engagement at the right time. Both automated and live engagement is important, and that’s where marketing technology really comes into play.
With more than 2,000 marketing technologies available, CMOs have never been positioned for a more exciting time to lead an organization’s marketing efforts. Many top enterprise marketers, CMOs, vice presidents, and marketing technologists are still trying to figure all of this out, so don’t feel overwhelmed if you are, too. Rest assured, you are in good company.
As a CMO, you need to ensure the technology you choose is working for you. Otherwise, it’s just another task on your to-do list.