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The CMO’s New BFF – Data!

There is no doubt in my mind that B2B Marketing has changed. Gone are the days when marketing was the creative engine that focused on brand imaging and creativity. That world has disappeared – replaced by science, analytics and razor-sharp execution of programs to engage in what IDC calls digital and interpersonal dialogs.

These dialogs represent a profound change in how B2B buyers now consider technology. They research, they evaluate and they engage when they are ready. The role of Marketing is to engage in that research process, deliver relevant content (content is king!) and engage with the buyer both prior to, during and after the sales cycle has occurred. Indeed, the fundamental relationship between sales and marketing has changed – both need each other through the entire sales and marketing cycles to maximize productivity and engagement.

In talking to analyst firm Sirius Decisions it is clear that the buying center has expanded to seven or eight people, all involved in the decision making process.  Best in class companies are now engaging their marketing engine to touch the buying center and ensure they remain engaged through the entire buying cycle.

To do this requires a new breed of CMO.  Today’s CMO needs a team with expertise in multiple disciplines – social media and community engagement to drive thought leadership, SEO and PPC to optimise for customer centric terms, click-stream analysis to determine who is looking at what, IP recognition to deliver dynamic relevant content, IP analysis to identify visitors from corporate prospects, master data management to deliver the single view of the buying center that can be used to deliver relevant role based content at the right time in the buying cycle, and to efficiently deliver leads to relevant sales teams.

The modern marketer is becoming a master of data – heck, let’s even call it a master of “Big Data!” Indeed, this discipline of marketing is now full of those new magical people called “Data Scientists”. Who’d have thought it?

With all this data our goal is to deliver to sales a digital signature of our prospects.  We want to be able to know which companies are spending time looking at different products on our web – whether at an individual level or at a company level.  We want to cross-reference this with historical purchase data so that we can understand when people are looking at products that no-one from their company has purchased previously. By doing this we can engage more efficiently by sharing relevant content to prospects that we know are interested in what we have to offer.

Today the world of marketing is being driven by an understanding that data provides insight and meaningful information that can focus engagement in ways never before possible. Data integrationdata quality and master data management are three critical components that will enable the delivery of the timely, trustworthy and authoritative data needed by CMO’s.

Data certainly has enough power to drive more effective marketing and it will be exciting to see how this journey continues as increasing numbers of marketers benefit from what data has to offer.