Marketing has always struggled to show its value. Perhaps this explains why there are still a small number of CMOs in the boardroom. Only 21% had a marketing background among FTSE 100 CEOs. The annual Robert Half FTSE 100 CEO Tracker showed that majority of CEOs (43%) have a background in finance. That big discrepancy suggests a gap in value placed on the disciplines.
Marketing as a Growth Driver
However, things are changing. Raconteur cited executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles, revealing the proportion of European CEOs with a marketing background to have grown from 15% to 21% between 2011 and 2015. It also pointed out current Tesco CEO Dave Lewis being responsible for Unilever’s Dove Real Beauty campaign. Another example was Procter & Gamble’s former UK marketing chief Roisin Donnelly joining the board of Just Eat.
Not only that, Deloitte found that 27% of surveyed CMOs said their role is primarily responsible for growth strategies and revenue generation, above the CEO (21%). The report also revealed that for 68% of CMOs, being the growth driver is the top or one of the highest expectations by senior management and the board from them.
A shifting focus to a more customer-centric world makes this true: Consumers demanding personalized and on-demand products and services, and brand recall becoming more critical than ever as customer attention span decreases. And who’s on the ground, interacting with customers? CMOs and their teams. This makes them key players in the boardroom, being considered the voice of the customer at the leadership table.
The CMO job description has also undergone massive change in recent years. In addition to creative work, it now also involves a lot of analytics. Delivering key results using a balanced combination of both skills makes it a challenging (but exciting) role.
As a marketer, how can you fulfill your increasingly important responsibility and justify the investments the organization makes to execute your growth strategy? How can you achieve results by combining creativity and analytics?
The Alexa of Marketing
The secret behind the success of intelligent personal assistants such as Alexa is the power of an artificial intelligence system built upon, and continually learning from, human data. Not only does Alexa help you turn on the lights, read your emails, or remind you what to buy at the grocery store, it also gathers data to continuously improve and add value.
In marketing, the future lies in how data can be leveraged to guide marketing activities at scale and in real-time. That’s become possible with your own “marketing Alexa”—a kind of marketing technology that leverages AI, predictive analytics, and machine learning to strengthen your marketing strategy with data-driven decisions and actions—from lead generation and ranking to branding and campaign management.
This explains why four in 10 CMOs knew more about AI than the average consumer (vs. 18% of consumers), and that 55% expected AI to have a more significant impact on marketing and communications than social media ever had, according to Weber Shandwick and with KRC Research.
Gartner also revealed that in 2017-2018, CMOs allocated 9.2% of their total marketing expense budget on marketing analytics—behind any other capability. Moreover, when Deloitte asked which areas had the most impact on CMOs’ ability to generate revenue, one of the top solutions was targeting, personalization and predictive analytics (44%), which allow them to harness their data.
The main benefits of an AI-powered platform are delivering customer experience, identifying, understanding, and growing customers, and measuring and optimizing marketing performance.
Let’s see how AI and predictive analytics power marketing’s own version of Alexa.
Knowing Your Customers
Consumers today are upending the market. They are tech-savvy, demanding, and knowledgeable, expecting personalized approach regardless of the channel they use to interact with a brand. For any marketing activity to work, the first requirement is to truly know your target customers because who else are you doing all the work for? You can ask your intelligent personal assistant to:
Discover Your ICP
Using a robust set of indicators made from first and third-party data, an AI platform can scan your database to identify valuable customers and predict their likelihood to convert. The characteristics that make your actual customers unique compared to all the leads or prospects in your database paint a picture or profile of your target, your ideal customer profile (ICP).
Segment Your Market
Now that you know your ICP, it is easier for your AI platform to divide your target customers into segments, with each having its unique campaigns, messaging, and general strategy. You can also ask the platform to do more than traditional segmentation, with new data sets such as technologies in use, social influences, firmographic data, and intent-based data. Letting you customize your approach per segment enables you to better connect with customers and leave a lasting impression.
Jumpstart Your ABM Strategy
Your targets may be large organizations that have complex purchase processes with many decision makers across departments. AI platforms can leverage account-based marketing (ABM) which enables you to gather consensus from all buyer participants to close a deal. With ABM, you can get more, such as customer retention and cross-sell and upsell opportunities, generating higher value deals in the long run.
Create New Audiences
Once you have your ICP and ABM in place, then you can ask the platform to explore predictive audiences. This helps you understand your target audiences better, create account lists for ABM, and see other green field accounts identified for you. With your target audiences ready, your AI system can provide you with insights to refine your current strategy, or even expand to new markets, geographically or even into a new vertical.
Knowing Your Wins
These are what you are going to bring in the boardroom—data-driven creative outputs and strategic actions and results. It is essential to communicate the business value and financial impact of your marketing initiatives vis-à-vis the overall enterprise strategy. And what better way to do that than providing the data proofs that boardroom officers want to see. Helping you prepare for your next board meeting, you can ask your marketing personal assistant to:
Focus on the Right Prospects
With insights at hand, an AI platform helps you focus your energy and budget to customers who have the highest likelihood to buy. This is important so that every penny, time, and effort spent on one customer by the whole organization bears fruit. Having a clear view of who, what, where, and how to target is gold for marketers today.
Optimize Customer Engagement
Delivering personalized customer experience has become a necessity for brands. Knowing your ICP and other marketing indicators, you are more than capable of being attuned with your customers and create a very targeted approach to their lifestyle and behavior. Your platform can also help you build rapport and deliver what customers truly need by being consistent and present across their buying journey.
Empower Your Sales
An AI platform shows the context behind why a target is labeled as such to sales so they can prioritize. By prioritizing leads and accounts that are more than likely to buy, they become more efficient. The intelligence on buyer persona and metrics that predict the performance of existing leads and accounts help sales improve results. And in return, contributes to the achieving the revenue for the organization.
Grow Your Market
By using existing data, the platform can find new targets in new markets. Indicators that describe high-value customers in your existing market can lead you to new customers with the same characteristics in the new market. This saves a lot of resources that you would’ve used in market research and strategic analysis.
CMOs are aware of the critical role they play as the voice of the customer in the boardroom. And an AI-powered, intelligent personal assistant such as MintigoAI helps to show marketing’s value. But to truly drive growth for the business, there must be a change in organizational mindset towards a more customer-centric approach. And the boardroom, being the source of tough decisions on vision and strategy, must promote the collective work of driving the organization’s attention and focus on the most important aspect: the customers.
What potential do you see for an AI-powered marketing personal assistant? How might this make your job easier? Tell me about your future vision in the comments.