tunnel vision
To overcome the gaps in their view of the customer lifecycle, CMOs must focus on three key areas. PHOTO: Len dela Cruz

Today's CMOs have an unprecedented wealth of data at hand. This data enables them to make actionable brand and campaign decisions based on key findings and insights that were never available before the democratization of analytics and integrated marketing systems. 

Marketers can now study the customer lifecycle — the many points of contact between a customer and a brand’s website, store or other managed assets — at an increasingly granular level and improve it (and make it more efficient) through an iterative process.

Closing Gaps in Your View of the Customer Lifecycle

However, significant gaps exist in most marketing leaders' views of the customer experience lifecycle. 

A lot of the data is siloed, disconnected or cannot be mapped to a multi-touch or accurate attribution model that enables a better view of marketing return on investment. 

The infrastructure that can help yield the insights they desire – and that enable brand experiences that create the most value, drive the most conversions and garner the most customer affinity — require a keen focus on these three must-have areas.

Creating the Infrastructure for Today's CMO

1. The Customer

It’s imperative that the CMO work toward a single (as well as aggregate) view of each customer. The diverse sources and formats from which they must patch the customer data together creates challenges, making constructing a complete view of the customer a marketing data integration project. 

In order to create a best-in-class brand experience that performs for the business, CMOs must solve this challenge. 

Analytical and anecdotal customer data and feedback enables a brand to accurately identify customers’ needs across devices, digital channels, offline locations and in customer support mechanisms like call centers. Additional data that is acquired through outside parties or data-sharing arrangements with business partners can also help round out this single view of the customer. 

Armed with this information, a data-smart CMO can better architect customer experiences throughout “owned and paid” brand experiences, as well as take the guesswork out of marketing effectiveness measurement.

2. The Brand

CMOs increasingly need a more complete picture of how their brand is functioning across marketing channels, including social. 

This comprehensive visibility, enabled by robust marketing data that shows how channels function both alone and together, allows product and marketing teams to incrementally improve the customer experience and uncover new opportunities. A blended return on ad spend (ROAS) viewpoint will better inform decisions about budget and resource allocations, as today’s marketing efforts are interdependent and drive compound returns. With a good CRM, EMS (email) and analytics package, the CMO can gain a holistic view of the full impact marketing efforts are having. 

Data-driven marketing often necessitates shifts in certain business processes and a mind shift within the organization, and those digital transformations should be carefully planned and executed for the best results over time. 

In the end, when brand marketing is well orchestrated across channels, the brand then has the power to successfully appeal to current, new, and prospective customers. It’s also often invigorating for internal teams working smart to humanize the marketing process.

3. The Technology

CMOs can’t go it alone — and shouldn’t try — when it comes to technology implementation and execution. Today's market (and even more so looking to the future) calls for ever-closer relationships between the CMO and their colleagues who lead IT/development and finance departments. 

Creating successful customer experiences is a product of the marketing technology stack, as well as wisely sized and spent marketing budgets. This can often mean reallocating budget away from pursuits that are not as technological or supported by data. 

Better marketing technology also tends to come hand-in-hand with automation, driving superior cost effectiveness as well as freeing budget that can in turn be reinvested in a virtuous cycle. 

With marketing, technology and finance leaders working efficiently, needed adaptations to customer experiences can be expedited — resulting in superior customer experiences, sales, loyalty and strong word of mouth from happy customers.

By partnering with leaders across departments and teaming marketing efforts with technology capable of deriving the greatest available value from data, CMOs can gain the insights they need to create positive brand interactions across every channel and at every stage of the customer lifecycle.