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CMO’s cannot get the benefits from Big Data by themselves — nor from their agencies

I had a great CMO 2.0 Conversation yesterday with Jim Davis, the CMO at SAS (I will post the conversation in a couple of weeks). As you can imagine the topic of Big Data came up.

Having done research in the area of big data for multiple clients, and having interviewed many CIO’s and CMO’s on the topic, there are a few things that stand out in this emerging market .

  1. CMO’s cannot expect results by going it alone
    Some CMO’s are buying their own technology solutions to gain actionable insights from big data.  Unfortunately, most marketing departments lack the wherewithal to deploy sophisticated technology solutions and will never achieve the promise of big data on their own. Even if they have the product management skills to deploy technology, they most likely don’t have the right data-related expertise on the team to get the actionable insights from the data.
  2. CMO’s cannot rely on their agency for big data
    Agencies only see a small sliver of the customer data, that related to advertising and possibly lead gen. They do not have access to the other rich data sources that most companies have about their customers, including CRM, customer support data, bricks and mortar data, credit card data, purchasing data, etc.  So relying on only a small portion of the data will leave marketers vulnerable to competitors that can truly mine and base decisions on the comprehensive customer data set.
  3. CMO’s should team up with their CIO’s to tap into the promise of big data
    The only way for the CMO to tap into the promise of big data is by teaming up with the CIO. For that relation to work, however, both will have to have a shift in behavior. CIO’s have to stop considering themselves as service providers to the marketing organization and instead set themselves up as true partners to the business — with a deep understanding of the customer facing processes and desired outcomes.  CMO’s will have to become much more disciplined in how they document requirements for technology and data analytics support. As Jim suggested, a quick way to the get CIO’s and CMO’s to align is by giving them the same goals.

What do you think? I would appreciate your input on it.

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