The rise of the data-driven CMO

Traditionally, the chief marketing officer (CMO) was responsible for all marketing-related activities in a company. Sometimes managing a team, or if it’s a smaller company doing it all themselves, he or she had two broad responsibilities: to understand and communicate the needs of the company’s target audience to product teams, the CEO and the rest of the board; and to ensure that the company’s target audience is aware of and wants to buy the company’s products or services.

Today’s CMO, however, must address all these markets and audiences – internal and external – armed with data. They need to process, analyse and assess data from many channels, including social, to help improve bottom-line revenue. Social is growing from what was once considered a marketing ‘nice-to- have’, to arguably the most important channel available, and one that provides value across several departments and business lines, from sales to service, and much more. This has led to the rise of the data-driven CMO.

Data, data, everywhere

This emergence of the data-driven CMO is partly due to the sheer volume of data now available in the modern world. Technology firm IBM has stated that each day we collectively create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data and 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. Analyst group IDC has stated that enterprise data is expected to grow by 40 percent a year into the next decade, and much of this is consumer-generated content.

A significant element of this consumer-generated content has come from social media, and specifically Facebook, which has 1.65 billion monthly active users, each spending an average of 46 minutes a day on the platform.[1] This means there are billions and billions of data points generated on Facebook every single day, which with the right analysis can deliver incredible insights for a CMO.

A new marketing skill-set

To unearth this insight however, requires a completely different set of skills, particularly around the analysis of data. CMOs must distil and continually analyse this data–not only to solidify their decisions and campaigns, but also to become income earners and innovation drivers within their organisations while successfully converting customers and driving higher revenues.

Meanwhile, CMOs must build their own core skill sets around data and adapt, expand, and train their teams. The entire marketing team must care about metrics and see how the data maps to overall key business objectives. Analyst house Gartner’s Data-Driven Marketing Survey, 2015 revealed that marketers expect most of their decisions to be quantitatively driven by 2017. Consequently, more than half of companies plan to grow their analytics teams.

Marketing and beyond

This focus on analytics also adds value beyond the marketing team. Working with a chief information officer (CIO), the CMO can integrate social and enterprise data, empowering all departments to access and analyse this data for their own specific needs. While the CMO is focused on using social to drive customer engagement and meet business objectives, the CIO manages data and technical integration details.

Social data can then be brought into the company’s broader business intelligence strategy. All data from different sources (social, Web site views, conversion rates, influence measurement, new customers acquired, etc.) and channels must be analysed for it to become truly meaningful.

Facebook topic data – the force behind data-driven marketing

So for any smart CMO, every decision will be driven by data. Until recently, marketers were unable to access the really powerful data on Facebook. There was access to information about who engages with a Facebook page and click through rates on Facebook Advertising, but information on people’s likes, dislikes, passions and opinions weren’t available to marketers and brands.

Now there is Facebook topic data, anonymous and aggregated content data about specific activities, events, brand names, and other subjects that people are sharing and engaging around on the platform. This is truly the force behind any data-driven marketer. It has transformed the way that marketers make decisions forever, allowing them to pinpoint and understand an audience with incredible accuracy.

 

[1] Source: Facebook’s Q2 2015 earnings report

by Zuzanna Pasierbinska-Wilson
Vice President of Marketing, DataSift in Insights.

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