Are CMOs moving fast enough or do they need a turbo boost?

Vasantha V Kumar, Director, Marketing & Communications, India & South Asia, IBM gives a different spin to the concept of reinventing brands by challenging CMOs to step up their game and transform themselves to digital pacesetters

e4m by Aditi Raval
Updated: Mar 25, 2014 7:47 AM
Are CMOs moving fast enough or do they need a turbo boost?

Vasantha V Kumar, Director, Marketing & Communications, India & South Asia, IBM, presented compelling data on how the digital world is influencing the world of marketing at Pitch CMO Summit 2014 on the topic ‘Stepping up to the challenge – reinventing ourselves’ Pitch CMO Summit 2014 was powered by Colors. He also released the results of the IBM 2014 CMO Studies that involved research on 524 CMOs across the world.

He said that we talk about digital isolation but it’s interesting how the numbers in the digital space are getting fancier by the day. He said at IBM, it is believed thatgoing forward, data is going to be the natural resource, but unlike other natural resources, it’s going to be unlimited. It is imperative to use it well.

He shared the following information:

1. 8 new people come to the internet every second.
2. Digital influence affects $ 30 billion of consumer spending in India, more than five times of actual e-commerce.
3. 72 per cent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
4. By 2015, there will be 20x more mobile data and 40x more mobile transaction spending in India compared to 2010.

It goes to show digital influences more offline spending than online. The vital question that he raised was -Are CMOs moving fast enough to keep with the pace of change or do they need a turbo boost?

Kumar, revealing the details of the study, said that in the past three years, CMOs have made surprisingly little progress towards implementing key digital marketing strategies. But he showed great belief and optimism in changing and enhancing strategies over the coming years. Data defines three clear profiles of marketers – the digital pacesetters, the social strategists and the traditionalists. The traditionalistsare just about starting their digital journey, challenged by what’s happening around them.

Social strategists, according to him, describe the vast majority of Indian organisations. Social is a great way to engage customers and they make great efforts in the space, beginning to use the medium as a service channel and recognise the importance of mobile, but are behind in the use of analytics. Kumar stressed that all should aim to be digital pacesetters are organisations that are very well prepared in use of data analytics and are strongly integrating digital and physical mediums. The important thing to look at is how to design customer experiences by using data analytics, to move away from merely engaging customers and work towards designing experiences from them. The distinguishing factor of the pacesetters is how much they are able to extract from the wealth of the data around them and use it to get a deeper understanding of their customers. It is not about marketing to customers, but creating experiences with customers – a whole new area that explores marketing as a service.

Pacesetters have robust digital strategies. Citing a few examples, he spoke about Wimbledon using analytics to predict outcome of matches, a process introduced and perfected during the tennis matches, now being experimented in India too. Jaguar is transforming the showroom experience by creating a virtual showroom, where the customer can customise the car. They can put down a list of their preferences, based on which, the car is customised and comes alive on a virtual screen. This provides excellent customer feedback and describes what customers actually look for.

All of the above suggest the clear mantra in marketing is collaborating, internally as well as externally.

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