IBM: CMOs Mixing Internal, External Data for Financial Success

Chief marketing officers (CMOs) who are adept at mixing internal data with external data tend to be more successful, according to an IBM study.

IBM said chief marketing officers (CMOs) that have been successful in mixing internal data with external data are able to uncover insights that drive financial success for their organizations.

According to a new IBM study, high-performing CMOs are integrating internal and external data to garner deep insights that, in turn, provide them with a much deeper understanding of their customers.

The study, entitled “Stepping up to the challenge: How CMOs can start to close the aspirational gap,” is based on findings from face-to-face conversations with more than 500 CMOs from 56 countries and 19 industries worldwide. Conducted by IBM’s Institute for Business Value (IBV), the study reveals that 94 percent of CMOs said they believe advanced analytics will play a significant role in helping them reach their goals.

However, an increased number of CMOs say their organizations are underprepared to capitalize on the data explosion – 82 percent compared to 71 percent three years before.

IBM has gleaned key findings related to both chief financial officers (CFOs) and chief information officers (CIOs) from the research of its IBV unit. Studies earlier this month showed that CFOs who use big data tend to be much more effective than those who do not, and CIOs that employ big data to focus on customer satisfaction tend to be more successful than others. The new study focusing on the CMO indicates that big data and social media present big opportunities for today’s enterprise organizations.

“After speaking with CMOs around the world, it became evident that more companies across all industries are striving to integrate their physical and digital presence in order to provide a more integrated, seamless customer experience,” said John Kennedy, vice president of marketing at IBM Global Business Services, in a statement. "In response, we launched the new IBM Interactive Experience to help CMOs and other C-suite leaders design and build rich, data-enabled experiences for their customers and stakeholders.”

The study identifies three types of CMOs: Traditionalists (37 percent), Social Strategists (33 percent) and Digital Pacesetters (30 percent). Digital Pacesetters are more likely to be financial outperformers and are characterized by their preparedness for the growth of data, social and mobile channels; integration of physical and digital sales and service channels; and regular use of advanced analytics to extract insights from customer data, IBM said.

“Clients are all about building growth agendas, whether it’s on understanding the information that they currently have or combining it with outside information to be able to attract or retain clients, or whether it’s creating a new business model about the data they manage, or using it to improve the economics of IT as opposed to trying to squeeze cost out of the data layers themselves,” Bob Picciano, senior vice president of IBM’s Big Data and Analytics group, told eWEEK in an interview.

Moreover, Picciano said IBM is helping clients “create new business models where they’re monetizing information they may have had on hand for a long time, but they didn’t know to correlate that with other things that may be happening in a social domain or that could be combined or correlated with other information that they possess.”

Meanwhile, the new study also measured the influence of CMOs within their organization, concluding that their level of strategic involvement is increasing. According to the study, 63 percent of CEOs involve the CMO in formulating the organization’s overall business strategy, second only to the CFO (72 percent). The study underscores the need for CMOs to collaborate more closely with the rest of the C-suite in making strategic decisions that are supported by data and analytics.

The study also found that when a CMO has a close working relationship with the CIO, the enterprise is more likely to perform better overall. High-performing CMOs were reported to have a stronger working relationship with CIOs than those identified as financial underperformers.

The study also showed that 66 percent of CMOs said they feel underprepared for the growth of social media, which is evolving at a pace faster than many can cope with. And the CMOs said they are less concerned with both monitoring their brand via social media and trying to monetize social media.

In addition, 94 percent of marketing leaders said they believe that mobile applications will play a significant role in helping them reach their goals over the next three to five years, which is up from 80 percent three years before. The study found that Digital Pacesetters in particular are well along the path of executing a mobile strategy, with 58 percent able to conduct business regardless of location or device.

IBM conducted its in-person analysis with more than 4,000 C-suite leaders by using a global team of business strategists, consultants, data scientists and statisticians.

In an article from last year, eWEEK looked at how enterprise marketing departments are taking advantage of big data like no other group in the corporate world, with IBM using it as a secret weapon.