Change. It’s the one constant in this industry, and it’s the number one reasons brand managers are struggling to spend their nights in restful slumber.
In the Advertising Week panel “What Keeps CMOs Up at Night,” marketing managers from Dell, Allstate, and Mondelez, and Lisa Donohue of Starcom USA discussed their fears about the future.
Here are five reasons your CMO can’t get some good shut-eye:
Technology, marketing, and sales are more intertwined than they’ve ever been before. The lines are blurred, and CMOs are wondering how exactly their focus should adjust as a result. Should they zero in on customer experience? Or are they now Chief Information Officer? Integration starts at the top, and CMOs are still figuring out what and how to manage the new ecosystem.
Change is happening so quickly that it’s difficult to know what a modern marketing campaign even looks like. Bryan Jones, VP of marketing at Dell, said he questions everything from his team’s organizational structure to having the right agency partners. He also spoke on the issue of being reactive versus proactive, and how to maintain a balance. There’s no perfect model of an effective media model, and brands have to experiment and define their own marketing path.
Buyers are doing more research online before they purchase: They are reading product reviews, asking for feedback on Facebook, and perusing competing brands’ sites. That means that they are at least halfway through the buying cycle before they even contact a sales rep or walk into a store — if they do at all.
CMOs are trying to meet these research-focused consumers in the digital space while they can still be influenced. The problem: It’s still difficult to know where and how to best communicate with these prospective customers.
Lisa Cochrane, SVP of marketing, said Allstate is moving as fast as it can to move to 100% programmatic in-house. Jones said the amount of data Dell has on its customers is a competitive advantage, so it’s key they continue to ensure this data is safe and not used by agencies for “other” purposes. Access to data and ownership of this data is becoming a point of differentiation, and brands are going to be more selective about who and which agencies have access to their information.
One on the most endearing conversation points came from Dana Anderson, Mondelez’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer, in response to a question on the balance between data and creativity: “The dress can be the right size, but that doesn’t mean it is going to look good.” You can have the the data to back up a campaign or message, but that doesn’t mean it will work.
The panel also agree that the vast amount of available data can be paralyzing: There’s too much of it and not enough technology to be able to analyze and surface true insights. No one pleads for more data.
Marketing is still based in creativity, and brand managers need to trust their instincts.