It is easy to feel like marketing is in a no-win situation. Caught between trying to delight customers with amazing experiences and trying to dazzle business with amazing results, CMOs and marketers around the world must appeal to and appease two very distinct sets of demands to succeed in today's business world.
Stuck in this perceived Catch-22, many of us default to addressing one constituency at the expense of the other. In the process, we fail to live up to our full potential on either front at a time when the stakes are high and there's no more middle ground—brands are either disruptors or the disrupted, growing or shrinking.
Takin' It to the Streets
Meeting and exceeding the demands of these two distinct groups is the single biggest challenge that we all face, and from the conversations I have every week, I know there are no easy answers.
On one hand there is Main Street, where customers demand and expect a personalized, hypercustomized and dazzling digital experience, plus a one-to-one marketing experience at massive scale. This requires long-term thinking around the customer relationship, a right-brain focus on customer relationships and behaviors, and serious creative genius to captivate customers and keep them engaged over the long haul.
On the other hand, or better still, on the other block, there is Wall Street, aka the board of directors, investors and stockholders, each demanding and expecting revenue growth, profit growth and predictable performance, quarter over quarter. This requires the CMO to exhibit near-term thinking around financial performance that can force "batch-and-blast" marketing style tactics, a left-brain focus on analytics and number-crunching, and serious measurement acumen to prove marketing's value to the board.
Wearing Two Hats
We all know it can be a challenge to wear two hats, and I will not argue that point. In the context of marketing, and how we can meet and exceed the increasing demands from both Main Street and Wall Street, there are technologies that can do so, some in extraordinary fashion.
The reality is that the technology and everything else the CMO needs to be successful is available, but is not being applied correctly due to several factors, including false promises, hype, internal roadblocks, and technology clutter (as there is no shortage of options for the CMO to choose from today).
As a means to cut through the clutter and provide some clarity, we recently partnered with the CMO Club on a new ebook, "The CMO Solution Guide to Leveraging New Technology and Marketing Platforms."
Featuring insights from CMOs of some of the biggest brands in the world, the guide includes five solutions we identified to help marketers make their way through what I refer to as the "Wild West of technology vendors" that make big promises but all too often deliver a fragmented and obscured path to success.
What Lies Ahead
The incredible complexity of balancing the expectations of Wall Street and Main Street is only going to increase as the expectations of the boardroom and consumer continue to skyrocket.
To successfully tackle this complexity and move beyond the false promises and hype that are just making matters worse, I ask all CMOs to consider the following:
- What if you could balance the needs of both Wall Street and Main Street while moving into this new world order at your own pace?
- What if you didn't have to navigate technology complexity, worry about the technologies your competitors are using, or even understand marketing technologies in order to take advantage of them?
- What if you could quickly and easily share real business results by spending less time shoveling haystacks of data and more time finding needles of insight?
- And what if we could clear the air of all this marketing hype so that you can focus on achieving your full business and creative potential, and simply do real marketing for real people?
Before you answer, consider one last thing: It no longer has to be a case of "what if."
With the right technology, it is possible to meet both near-term demands to satisfy Wall Street's revenue expectations and Main Street's long-term aspirations to deliver amazing customer experiences, integrating cross-channel, content and social marketing with data management.
Wrapping It Up
Not long ago I penned a piece for Forbes in which I wrote: "The reality of how customers interact with brands is sinking in, and many marketers are starting to realize that the customer journey is anything but a straight path. Rather, it's a never-ending, dynamic, constantly evolving relationship, one that requires management of real interactions with real people."
Read that again and let it sink in for a minute.
All this talk about a customer journey or path to purchase culminating in someone buying something from your brand is a myth. There is no end. There can't be an end. For if there is an end, you will eventually lose that customer forever, right?
Beyond the hype and false promises, the reality is that as marketers, there is no quick fix to meet the expectations of both Wall Street and Main Street. And we all know that. What I can share, though, is some of the questions that the world's best marketers are asking themselves as they make the transition. I encourage you to ask yourself these same questions as the answers will go a long way in helping you tackle the incredibly complex balancing act we all face:
- Do your current technologies and marketing platforms embrace the unstructured nature of customer data by connecting behaviors that take place across a variety of online and offline channels to establish one unique account or individual?
- Do your current technologies and marketing platforms enable and empower you and your team to adapt marketing activities to real-time customer behaviors and adjust the customer experience in real time?
- Do your current technologies and marketing platforms allow you and your team to align content to key inflection points throughout the entire customer lifecycle?
- And last, but certainly not least, do your current technologies and marketing platforms offer you the ability to leverage new technology and innovation as it happens?
About the Author
Kevin Akeroyd is general manager and senior VP for the Oracle Marketing Cloud. He is responsible for leading all customer-facing aspects at Oracle Marketing Cloud, including sales, account management, marketing and customer support and services.
Prior to Oracle, Mr. Akeroyd was senior VP-field operations at Badgeville. Before Badgeville, Mr. Akeroyd was general manager of the Data.com business unit for Salesforce.com, chief operating officer of Jigsaw prior to its Salesforce.com acquisition and has held a variety of CXO-level positions at companies including Gallery Player, the Loan Page, Acxiom, Angara, Noosh and RR Donnelly & Sons PreMedia. Follow on Twitter @akeroyd.
About the Sponsor
Modern marketers choose Oracle Marketing Cloud to build customer-obsessed cultures, create and manage ideal customers and power revenue performance. They transform marketing by truly knowing the customer, engaging with cross-channel marketing and achieving data-driven accountability. Integrated information from cross-channel, content and social marketing with data management and activation along with hundreds of app and data partners enables them to target, engage, convert, analyze and use award-winning marketing technology and expertise to deliver personalized customer experiences at every interaction.