From digital marketing and mobile commerce, to web sites and social media, marketers are exhausted by data, 2.5 quintillion bytes of which are being generated every day. Within the marketing community there is almost unanimous agreement that an integrated technology suite is the CMO’s best bet to regain control and remain connected to consumers.
Yet if I were to ask a room of marketers how many have such a system in place, very few would raise their hands.
So what’s your excuse?
This lack of collective action reminds me of the Tufts Health Plan commercial running in the Boston, Mass. area, where I live, “There’s always an excuse not to work out.” The ad spotlights a man and woman listing out the many reasons why they didn’t work out. The excuses begin on a somewhat “believable” level with reasons such as “I forgot my sneakers” but quickly take a turn for the more outlandish with “I missed the cat” and my own personal favorite, “Wednesdays are weird.”
It’s a fun examination of the lengths people will go to justify not doing the one thing that we all agree must be done. In this case, exercise. Now, shifting this back to the real world, I’m willing to bet that this same exchange may be taking place in your business right now.
According to the latest IBM “State of Marketing 2012” survey, 85 percent of marketers believe there is a need for an integrated marketing suite. This widespread agreement is extremely encouraging. After all, who wouldn’t want a marketing suite that is finely tuned and ready to meet the needs of the multichannel consumer?
Just about everyone it turns out.
According to the survey only 29 percent of marketers stated they are very effective at integrating different channels. That’s a huge drop off from the figure I put out just a few sentences earlier.
So what’s their excuse? Why are so few chief marketing officers (CMO) sweating it out in an effort to bring all these solutions together and best serve their customers? Our study identified three major reasons.
Excuse number one: “It’s too complicated” — 59 percent believe their existing systems are too disparate to integrate different channels.
Excuse number two: “It will cost too much”—57 percent of marketers believe lack of budget is a barrier to integrating different channels.
Excuse number three: “Marketing and IT aren’t aligned”—Nearly 60 percent indicate that lack of IT alignment and integration are significant barriers to the adoption of technology.
Moving Beyond the Excuses
Now just like attempting a marathon, overcoming cost and complexity are not easy and it won’t be accomplished your first time out. But as any good trainer would tell you, you can’t let allow those hurdles to turn into deterrents either. Overcoming such challenges begins with a trip down the hall to visit the new personal trainer: the CIO.
According to our study 51 percent of respondents who identified their companies as high-performing indicated they have good relationships between marketing and IT. That’s 10 percent higher than all remaining companies!
Viewed by many as the real “odd couple” CMOs and CIOs will be the catalysts in forging this union. According to Gartner CMOs will spend more on IT than the CIO by 2017. To ensure the right investments are being made the CMO will need the assistance of the CIO who has a track record of helping usher in successful technology investments in areas such as finance and supply chain. Now it’s marketing’s turn. With the partnership formed, marketing must work with IT to identify an inflection point that allows you to effectively justify the investment you are looking to make.
With the green light from the corner office, begin the process of infusing marketing into all facets of the organization. Start with the 4Ps and pick the one that gives you the quickest win. For one business that could be pricing while for another it could be products and services. Whichever P you pick, be sure to have analytics in place that allow your team to measure and deliver metrics that allow you to further validate the investment.
With that you have taken the first step in your marketing/IT journey and with the metrics in hand can then justify the next step and the step after that. As you progress what you will find is that at the end of the day your excuses have been replaced with an integrated set of solutions that deliver innovation, business results and better customer experiences.