Inside the mind of today’s CMOs: Your cheat sheet

There is no doubt that a new digital economy is transforming on and offline marketing strategies for brands, placing a new focus on the delivery of experience. Today, UK CMOs know what they want; they are clear about where their priorities lie, and choose the appropriate digital platforms to meet company-wide needs.

A recent WP Engine study found the majority of CMOs (85 per cent) are confident their digital systems in place fit their purpose, now and into the future, so they can continue to support wider business objectives. Whether the priority is to enhance customer experience (53 per cent), revenue pressures (50 per cent), a brand refresh (47 per cent) or demand generation (37 per cent) - the majority (89 per cent) of senior marketers agree that secure, scalable, digital platforms are critical. As such this is where more than three-quarters will direct their spending within the approaching years.

What else can marketers learn from today’s leading CMOs to help make their mark in an increasingly digital world?

Your website is the golden ticket

The consumerisation of technology has meant that marketers today play a totally different role than their predecessors. After all, it’s most likely that a customer will engage with a brand digitally via social media or the website, before any human-communication takes place. CMOs know this, and for some time have been extracting data at each customer interaction.

The company website is central to the analytics, digital and mobile changes that are driving digital opportunities. But how frequently do companies use this valuable data to drive insights and strategies that make a difference?

Along with using customer data and analytics to re-define strategies, a website is the strongest route to sell back success to the management team. According to the study, digital platforms (33 per cent), social (30 per cent) and demand generation (28 per cent) are the most measurable ROI marketing strategies, and thus the way to verify marketing success.

Great expectations

Understandably, marketers are under increasing pressure to demonstrate a real return on their digital investments as quickly as possible. But what timeframes are we talking about?

Over three quarters of respondents said they expect their digital platforms to realise their potential to the business within 12 months. Furthermore, 20 per cent intend to make changes to their digital marketing platforms immediately.

At such a turning point in digital transformation, no CMO should be stagnant in their approach or rest on the laurels of a previous successful investment. To compete in today’s climate, re-evaluation of platforms and a continuous consideration of where investments can be made is the winning formula.

Integration is on the mind

In a digitally-driven world of ubiquitous connectivity, search, social media and mobile, the bar has been set ever-higher for the way marketers engage with their key audience. In fact, Gartner reports that by 2017, 89 per cent of marketers expect customer experience to be their primary differentiator.

Senior marketers understand that an effective, integrated and measurable digital marketing strategy is critical to success, and is achievable by delivering relevant and seamless customer experiences that extend from brand promise through to brand delivery. In fact, 65 per cent of CMOs cited ease of integration as their number one priority when adopting a new platform - ahead of pricing, security and market share.

CMOs increasingly need to integrate multiple sites – corporate sites, campaign microsites or intranets – making integration and delivery of content through these channels vital to marketing performance. Failing to create such unified experiences and the ability to measure them with real-time analytics means that their marketing efforts will not perform to their potential.

Tools of the trade

To meet the demands for simplicity and success, marketers are looking for a platform that is intuitive, scalable, and with more variety of themes and plug-ins than ever. When asked about the choice of CMS, it is encouraging that WordPress emerged as the platform most used with 40 per cent of IT decision makers using it for one or more of their digital platforms. Interestingly though, there are still 17 per cent of respondents that don’t use an application to manage their content.

The year ahead promises to be a tipping point for CMO success, where they must make smart, strategic choices that will have a direct impact on the business. According to 89 per cent of CMOs, the answer lies in ensuring that secure, scalable digital platforms are in place. If marketers can simplify platforms and deliver relevant, seamless multi-platform communications to customers, they will lead the way in a digital era.