Insights for CMOs: A Column For Forbes

Good For BusinessI’m very thankful that Forbes has extended me an offer to be a regular contributor discussing emerging technologies for the evolving customer strategy.

CMOs are hungry for information. The information landscape is in flux, consumers are more empowered as they assert control using social technologies. Additionally, things are moving faster, as mobile devices and microblogging makes real-time responses from companies not fast enough.  As a result, they are thirsty for what’s next, and how they can get ahead of the curve –with minimal risk.

This regular monthly (or more) column on the Forbes CMO network (@ForbesCMO) isn’t reporting, but instead will marry industry level insight and provide pragmatic advice. After I post industry insights at Forbes, I’ll also cross-post or point to it from the Web Strategy blog so you don’t miss out on anything.

View my contributions on the Forbes Network

Having met many of the CMO and marketing leaders at a recent Forbes event, they are certainly more sophisticated in their understanding (my first piece at Forbes) of new technologies and are ready to understand, trial, and adopt new methods. While we know that ‘social marketing’ is the hot topic for senior marketers especially during a recession, I’ll be pushing the thinking as I explore location based social networks and mobile technologies –all in support of improving the customer relationship.  I’m thankful for the opportunity to advance the industry, and hope to be a guide to marketing leaders who want to benefit from new technologies.

Now, to hear your opinions. As we continue to connect with marketing leaders and CMOs around the globe, I need your help what do you think they should know about emerging technologies. If you could speak to CMOs, what would you tell them? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  • Congrats Jeremiah! Your rise is a result of your hard work and acumen – thanks for paving the way for the rest of us!

  • Thank you Cory, that’s kind. I’m hoping this dialog with the upper echelon of the market will help with understanding, planning, and implementation of ‘what’s coming next’

  • My first thought is around one of the goals you identified here: “improving the customer relationship.” Which includes creating a great user experience at every level, providing a number of ways for consumers to engage and communicate with a company, and providing timely and personalized follow-up. Companies need to humanize their brand through genuine interactions between people within the company and their customers. I don’t believe that is a traditional function of a Marketing Dept. In fact, I don’t believe many organizations have dedicated resources to overseeing this really core function, mainly because it falls outside the traditional organizational chart. I think that’s something fundamental that needs to be addressed.

  • I’m really interested on what you reference as “improving the customer relationship.” A recent CMO Council poll showed that 63% of respondents say customer churn is up. With all the tools at our disposal today, I think we can do some really creative things to improve the customer experience, especially in retail and hospitality. I’ve just started to dig into what is today called the “Enterprise Feedback Management” space and I think there are some interesting things going on there. Although, I prefer thinking of it at Customer Experience Management…looking forward to your column, Jeremiah.

  • Csread, Jennifer

    Spot on. Thanks, the interesting thing about “Customer Strategy” as it’s not just about marketing, it’s also about support, and information that’s gleaned for product development. Marketers need to look beyond just demand generation and cascade to the rest of the company. Thinking like you, this is a topic we’ll address together.

    Jennifer, regarding customer churn, what can CMOs do to keep customers repeating and not churning. Many brands are recognizing the value of deploying communities that allow customers to build real relationships with each other –beyond just the promise of the product.

  • I think CMOs would like to learn as much about tapping into the mobile audience as they can and determine how it makes sense for their company and product.

    I think they’d also like to learn concrete strategies about how to approach mobile marketing instead of simply testing the waters and seeing what sticks.

  • I think the CMO’s are going to be interested in the ways to create a true advocate for their company. What does that means in terms of return vs. good solid customers? Is the expense of 10 Advocate’s lifetime value equal to X number of loyal yet not socially vocal customers? With the Social Business Ecosystem moving forward how can this speed up the understanding of Mobile, Hyperlocal,Augmented Reality and the yet to be created to cause less failures with the bleeding edge adoption? Congrats to you and will look forward to your continued great work..

  • How social media has changed the way we as CMOs capture and measure our customers’ full value via different media platforms.

  • Hey Jeremiah,

    I think B2B marketing execs are (still) trying to figure out what’s working and what’s not with their marketing spend. This may seem like an impossibility since online marketing is evolving into a highly trackable and measurable field, but complexities in campaign influence still leave many struggling with program evaluation.

    It reminds me of the popular John Wanamaker quote, “I know half my advertising dollars are wasted. I just don’t know which half.” CMOs are often still struggling with this dilemma- even when things are working they can’t tell what was the motivator for the success. Did web traffic increase because of SEO or was it the brand dollars that drove interest in the search itself. And what are the tools I can use to tell me?

    For B2B companies this is all compounded because of long sales cycles. With some prospects receiving tens or hundreds of marketing touches prior to sales interaction how do you really know campaign influence? And even if this can be worked out, CMOs and CSOs are left to fight over who really won the deal- was it the nurturing done by marketing or was marketing irrelevant and sales who championed the deal close?

    Essentially, I would love to see articles about how to measure campaign results, ROI from marketing software (especially emerging ones), and how to adopt those that are working.

    -Maria

  • First I would like to congratulate you! Finally, someone we normal, average people can exchange words with.

    I am really happy these people are finally acknowledging social marketing potential but I also hope it will stay as accessible as it is now for us, no matter how selfish it sounds.

    through social marketing, everybody has almost the same chances as big brands have and through it, we all have a fair chance to survive. I hate to see those privileges go.

  • Jeremiah – congratulations! It will be great to see you bring the insights you’ve been giving us for so long to the upper echelons of leadership across the globe.

    I’m hoping that you’ll be able to communicate that social media isn’t a function that should reside solely in the marketing function, but that it represents enormous opportunities for every function within the business. CMOs will lead the charge, but I’m hoping they’ll bring everybody else at the boardroom table along for the ride.

    Good luck with the column!

  • Steven Moore, I’m interested in hearing more about the ROI on advocacy programs, can you send me link to that data?

    Maria, your observations are not alone, I’ve heard from a variety of marketers who struggle with measuring nearly any of their B2B marketing efforts with long sales cycles. One of the key things to do is conduct annual, semi-annual surveys to find out what resonates with customers and prospects.

    Carol, Steve. That’s right, you will shape me through this dialog, which will hopefully influence others, as a result, the eco system becomes tighter and smaller.

  • Excellent news Jeremiah! Congratulations…

  • LaSandra Brill

    Congratulations! This is great news for all of us! The questions I’m getting from CMOs are less about the technology and more about the ROI of social media versus traditional programs. There are also concerns about the organizational changes needed. Lastly are the questions around policies and governance. If you can address these issues you will help advance the industry. Thanks!

  • Congratulations, Jeremiah! This is great news for you, Forbes, the CMO community and the rest of us who benefit from it all. As you know, I’m not only interested in emerging technologies and how they affect marketing strategies, but also emerging niche markets and how the power of social media and influence help foster them. Best of success, Jeremiah!

  • Fantastic! I look forward to reading your insights. While I do believe that many CMOs and marketers are tech-savvy and interested in truly improving the customer relationship, there are many that don’t understand the importance of this and will hopefully learn through your column!

  • Congratulations, Jeremiah!

  • Congratulations, Jeremiah. A couple of weeks ago i’ve attend Samsung TLC (Thought Leadership Conference) seminar by Ustream on my office. One of panel is follow you and she talk about social media’s trend and importance. It was good seminar.
    I hope you will have seminar about Social media in Korea. ^^
    Congratulations one more.

  • MK

    I would like to understand their thinking on the back-end analysis side of a “social marketing” campaign. What method(s) will they employ to measure return on investment? I know there are different flavors of ROI, but regarding profitability, at what cost per lead, cost per conversion, cost per sale or percent of marginal profit would they consider a campaign to be a success? Or are such measurements now archaic and not relevant? Would these CMOs consider doing any kind of testing first, or just jump right in? Curious minds want to know!

  • Thanks MK, one of the interesting things about social marketing as it may be less transactional “dollar in equals 5% clicks” vs relationship building on the softer side. I’ll be sure to address this topic.

  • When you asked what we would like to communicate to CMOs in the realm of (1) mobile (2) social (3) marketing, my first thought was the technology which has emerged as a new and exciting segment in the past 6 months: Mobile Augmented Reality.

    Mobile Augmented Reality (Mobile AR) is a practical solution to contextual messaging to consumers with smart phones, and over time, with feature phones. It is enabled by sensors in the mobile device (e.g., camera, GPS, 3D accelerometer, compass) which, when the algorithms recognize a match between a trigger in the user’s physical environment and information defined in the cloud (a database), superimpose the information (data, including logos, promotional messages) over what the user sees in the “real world.” These applications are a new way to merge our views (new user interface and user experience) of the real world and digital world.

    I’m sure that you have been reading about these new applications for Android and iPhone users, perhaps you are using a few yourself.

    Some platforms are designed to permit the Mobile AR user to contribute/add their own data and metadata. We are calling this “Social AR”.

    There is a huge opportunity with Mobile AR to add value to (and receive value from) consumers, increase their loyalty and sales, however, there must also be guidelines for how to avoid pure SPAM. I hope a dialog around this conscientious use of Mobile AR could help those preparing campaigns designed for this emerging to technology to experiment (without overreaching).

  • well done. now a better reason to read forbes. i look forward to your columns.

  • Quoted a piece of your article in an italian post on my blog… if that’s all right with you 🙂

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  • Sorry… as a writer I can't help but point out that nasty typo – should be 'contributions' NOT contrAbutions

  • Sorry… as a writer I can't help but point out that nasty typo – should be 'contributions' NOT contrAbutions

  • jowyang

    Thanks, I fixed.

  • Thanks, I fixed.

  • Sorry… as a writer I can't help but point out that nasty typo – should be 'contributions' NOT contrAbutions

  • Sorry… as a writer I can't help but point out that nasty typo – should be 'contributions' NOT contrAbutions

  • Thanks, I fixed.

  • Thanks, I fixed.

  • qqlovee
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  • Dan_Harris

    Jerimiah,

    There are a couple things I would tell CMOs.

    Put the right people in position. Just because an employee has a facebook, linkedin and twitter account does not make them the right person to run or manage your social media or web marketign programs.

    Second – Remain authentic. Think about what your specific audience wants and needs and deliver on it.

    Third – Be cautious about having a third party manage your social media personas. You can outsource some of the work, but you have to be leading the effort, responding rapidly, and make sure the third party you're using is in brand voice.

  • Dan_Harris

    Jerimiah,

    There are a couple things I would tell CMOs.

    Put the right people in position. Just because an employee has a facebook, linkedin and twitter account does not make them the right person to run or manage your social media or web marketign programs.

    Second – Remain authentic. Think about what your specific audience wants and needs and deliver on it.

    Third – Be cautious about having a third party manage your social media personas. You can outsource some of the work, but you have to be leading the effort, responding rapidly, and make sure the third party you're using is in brand voice.

  • Dan_Harris

    Jerimiah,

    There are a couple things I would tell CMOs.

    Put the right people in position. Just because an employee has a facebook, linkedin and twitter account does not make them the right person to run or manage your social media or web marketign programs.

    Second – Remain authentic. Think about what your specific audience wants and needs and deliver on it.

    Third – Be cautious about having a third party manage your social media personas. You can outsource some of the work, but you have to be leading the effort, responding rapidly, and make sure the third party you're using is in brand voice.

  • split up into three parts. If you are interested in how PR people think and where the industry is going, this is a great conversation to listen to. It’s also an interesting conversation about what’s interesting in the tech industry.

  • over what the user sees in the “real world.” These applications are a new way to merge our views (new user interface and user experience) of the real world and digital world.