For many years, marketing has been constricted to being answerable to CFO’s as an expense head. It has been a function which usually does not drive results from a sales standpoint and has always been a matter of grouse for the Finance departments. It’s also often one of the reasons that we’ve seen fewer CMO’s take up the CEO role – the lack of tangible impact on business.

With the coming in of technology, marketing’s time to transform business is now. Gone are the days where marketing had the ability to only sprinkle magic dust onto the ethos and soul of a company – of course, this is an age-old benefit of marketers and it will continue to remain as a strong one, however, what’s exciting is that it isn’t the only benefit of marketers to companies now. Over the last couple of years, the responsibilities levied by the board to the marketing teams demand them to be more accountable.

This has led to an evolution of a new breed of marketers who are very savvy with sales and start their careers with a business orientation. In addition to that, the current marketer also has a sense of digital technology and an understanding of how to create a marketing process that seamlessly ties into the sales process.

One such example is a piece of work at a Global Digital Ecosystem Enabler where the marketing team identified $1M sales opportunities and closures simply by looking at some of the recurring patterns in the data and creating interesting frameworks for the sales team to tap the leads located through the patterns. The company in question due to its strong brand gets thousands of inquiries and it needs to understand which inquiries need prime focus and which inquiries can drive sales. Using a combination of Clearbit, Google Optimize, and Google Analytics, the marketing team was able to present rich data to the sales team. With Clearbit, they were able to identify the IP addresses of the leads that visited their website that helped them understand which companies are coming into their website. Is it Tesla that’s coming in? Is it Oracle? Is it Uber?
More time spent by the company and more downloads of whitepapers indicated that more people from the company are interested. 341 such companies were identified at this company in question, from 8000 odd leads. Those were the leads that the sales team focused on which ultimately led to closures. This kind of drip process for marketing and razor-sharp micro marketing process, using digital technologies that affect not just the digital world but also the physical world and the closures of sales, is making marketing both exciting and powerful.

Further, at this company, Google Optimize helped them marry the understanding of which company is visiting their website and personalize the website for the particular industry to which they belonged. If the visitor belongs to Tesla, then the entire website would speak only about auto content. For Oracle, it would speak about Cloud applications – and so on. So Tom Cruise walking through a mall in Minority report where only relevant shop fronts are shown to him is finally happening across the board.

The marketing team in question worked hard to develop reams of auto content, software content, mobility and transport content, aerospace content to cater to the interests of the visitors. It’s a challenge – one that involves precision, consistency, and hard work to keep this high-quality content factory going. This is also attracting brighter writers into marketing – writers with backgrounds in engineering and design. All of it is leading to significantly higher quality content being created. I think that’s what makes this phase of marketing a little more exciting.

We are also seeing more of the CMO suite team getting involved in building facets like CRM systems for the company. Traditionally considered as a part of the marketing function, the call center function and sales function, that comes under the CMO in a matrix organization; we are now seeing more CMOs progress towards being IT-oriented and work with the CXOs and CIOs to deploy interesting technologies within the companies that fuse market insights and consumer understanding with tech. For example, we have started witnessing integrated CRM systems being developed where you have the entire sales process, the marketing process, the call center, all integrated under one hub.

All of this is creating a seamless flow where marketers have a clear, single view of their campaigns, their performance, the number of inquiries generated from them, and ultimately, the traction garnered.

Often, marketing also helps businesses in generating stakeholders who will drive the business forward, be it, retailers or distributors. The funneling of these inquiries from the stakeholders, into a single dashboard and having the ability to analyze region by region which areas the marketing had its most impact and why helps the CMO become more important in the BoardRoom.

With the ability to decipher the order quantity as well as doing toggles on interesting elements in order quality – about which inquiries were really useful, which were not, which yielded the highest gross margins; these integrated technologies are able to give the CMO a single strategic business viewpoint. In addition to that, having support and call centers being integrated with this ensures that the CMO is also able to work closely with the sales team office as well as the CEO’s office to understand where sales conversion is failing to further optimize better and understand the source of customer issues to eventually drive into product development. I see these new roles played by the CMO driving a lot more CMOs into the CEO seat. Another factor for CMOs to become CEOs is that Sales look at customers, Human Resources oversee the employees, however, Marketing is the only function for whom every stakeholder/stockholder in the company and outside the company constitutes as a target group. This is particularly visible since the arrival of digital platforms of communication. It won’t be surprising if digital marketing mandatory and offline plus will start becoming the requirement for the CEO. This integrated CRM that I write about is something that we recently deployed for one of the largest adult diaper manufacturers in the country and they’ve seen an 80% increase in customer satisfaction with a 16% increase in the median value of orders.

Putting all of this under an integrated hub at the CMO’s office gives it a lot of potentials but provides partners of CMOs, at advertising and digital service setups, the ability to transform themselves. The agencies which were talking about digital are no longer talking about it just from a creative standpoint but also from a business transformation standpoint. I’m bullish about the future of marketing and excited to drive more business experiences for companies around Technology.

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