As CMOs gain more power in the boardroom — and over technology spend — it will be critical that they understand the factors that drive success. As Jerret West, vice president of Marketing at Netflix, said, “We have to look for ways to combine creativity and technology with an understanding of how the business fits into the overarching customer experience. We have to think and act like CEOs.”

This describes the new world of marketing we live in today. And in this new world, new rules apply. CMOs who get on board will find amazing growth potential. Those that keep repeating strategies from yesterday’s playbooks are bound to fall by the wayside. To avoid going down that path, here are five keys to get started.

1. All Hail, King ROI

According to IBM, 63 percent of CMOs rank marketing ROI as their primary metric for success. In recent years, CMOs have found themselves under increasing pressure to demonstrate marketing’s effectiveness against the company’s financial performance – and after years of promising ROI-driven campaigns, technology is finally making that more achievable.

By focusing on their marketing channels’ analytics, data management and attribution, CMOs can better manage marketing ROI and build a foundation for success. A host of emerging companies like Localytics, Krux and Kochava are building cross-platform solutions that combine paid, earned and owned media to provide a more holistic view of marketing activities. This gives marketers the ability to combine disparate data sets, accurately attribute customer actions, and optimize for spend and strategy — all while moving at the speed of their business.

As this new data-led marketing Nirvana emerges, marketers will be able to more accurately model the business impact of their proposed marketing investments. But the road to this perfect world of measured marketing is still fraught with challenges. We’ll delve deeper into those in an upcoming post.

2. Hire Math Men, Not Mad Men

While media buying still works a lot like the floor of a pre-Internet stock exchange, and advertising deals still get done over dinner and drinks, the status quo is finally poised to change. In this new advertising age, rather than purchasing and selling media through inefficient RFPs, computers will use programmatic media buying to bring precision execution and automation to the entire process. No longer will all media buying decisions have to be made months before the campaign.

Make no mistake: Programmatic media buying is not a trend. It’s a takeover, and many companies, including BrightRoll, FreeWheel, AdRoll and TubeMogul, are rising to fill this growing demand. I predict that 100 percent of all print, radio and television advertising will eventually be bought and sold programmatically. This won’t come without its challenges. But in the end, marketers will rely on technology solutions that increase the supply of media available for purchase, enable advance purchases in addition to spot buys, give brands a broader understanding of the who, what, where and why, of their buys, and, lastly, connect digital metrics to traditional standards, such as Gross Ratings Points.

3. Publish or Perish

Social and mobile have amplified consumers’ voices. So much so that, as we learned in a recent study from Lithium, 1000+ customers can generate up to half a million conversations about a brand. What’s more, 92 percent of customers care more about what their friends have to say about a product than any advertising they will see. It’s as if we traveled back in time to a place where your neighbor’s recommendation for a butcher or baker carried the most weight — but today, we have the power of that sentiment at mass scale. It’s because of the importance of word-of-mouth that every business needs to be in the content business.

Traditionally, brands would create a few pieces of high-quality content throughout the year — almost exclusively traditional advertising. Today, content creation permeates all marketing channels, and the line between editorial content and promotional advertising is blurring. In order to reach the masses of engaged, active social media users, marketers must now provide useful and authentic content at a scale several orders of magnitude beyond what they would have created for traditional advertising.

From content creation and curation to workflow management and advocacy tools, a wide array of platforms are ready to deliver on brands’ new content-centric marketing activities. Skyword, Scripted, Curata, Newscred, Percolate and FameBit all offer key pieces of the content puzzle. These companies can help marketers provide useful and authentic content that will optimize message, timing and placement to create the greatest impact. And brands that scale their content across channels and formats will be better able to measure engagement and nurture those word-of-mouth advocates who will take the lead when it comes to turning relationships into sales.

Learning Opportunities

4. Mass Personalization Is Not an Oxymoron

Brands are realizing that the old model of engaging with customers has all but disappeared. Gone are the one way communications. Rather, brands are having conversations with them — and this conversational approach has become a core tenet of successful marketing in a digital world.

Today, every marketer has the ability to simplify and personalize the experience for the consumer. To effectively tailor each piece of marketing content, marketers need technology startups and organizations to continue to deliver a comprehensive view of each consumer, predict purchase and behavior preferences, and leverage contextual data like current location or preferred device.

An emerging set of startups are delivering in this space across a variety of web, mobile and online/offline channels. These include Reflektion, Spotzot and MaestroIQ on the B2C side and players like Marketo and ToutApp going after the B2B market. Collectively, they're helping brands move away from connecting with a million people at once and instead focus on connecting with one person a hundred times.

5. Close the Deal

The final key is for marketers to become dealmakers. CMOs will do more than lead their teams in generating demand. They will add “sales” to their job descriptions — and, in the process, start owning revenue and growth. Software, in turn, will need to bridge data sets to predict the value of each potential sales lead, surfacing relevant and timely insights, while helping marketers build revenue alongside their relationships.

In the past, a marketing team would pass the baton to the sales organization to close the deal, but that’s no longer the case. From ROI to more systematic and programmatic delivery mechanisms for advertising, content and selling, marketers will engage the 360 degree customer journey and close the deal themselves.

With greater ownership over the conversion funnel comes deeper technology needs for marketers. Among those needs are an aggregate of personally identifiable information across channels to gain a comprehensive view of each customer; a prediction of the value of each potential sales lead to help optimize time and management; and programs that surface the most relevant information at just the right time to help marketers close the deal.

A few players emerging in this space — from Fliptop to InsideView on the predictive scoring side to Refresh (recently acquired by LinkedIn) and Gainsight on the relationship management side — are making sure marketers have the tools to do all this via accessible, intuitive systems that can manage relationships and prioritize actions at scale.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License Title image by  Hernan Piñera 

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