5 things CMOs must know in the "digital" era in 2016

There is no doubt that the rise of digital technology has changed many aspects of marketing from user insights to communication and commerce.

It is also clear from my regular interactions with CMOs / marketing leaders that while most have taken note of the shift to user-centric marketing (read digital) and the spread of data-focused approaches (read bigdata), few have embraced concepts that embody these changes.

I often find that in my meetings with non-internet company CMOs, we are either skirting technological references or discussing basics of concepts which are no longer new to digital world. While I understand it is extremely difficult to keep pace with the constant innovation in the marketing tech landscape, but certain concepts have been around long enough (and are here to stay) and continued unfamiliarity just wont cut it.

Such ambiguity will not only isolate you but make it difficult for you to gauge, compare or prioritise what direction (read solutions) are best suited for your current and future requirements.

So, for my marketing counterparts here are 5 things you should not ignore in 2016:

1. A/B testing

Using A/B testing, a business can release two pieces of online content — like a marketing email or blog post or web page — to two different test groups and see which version receives the most engagement. This kind of testing helps narrow down marketing and advertising avenues, and predict which option will be more successful with the general public.

For further details click https://goo.gl/ZYVPBV

2. API

Simply put, an API (Application programming interface) is code that makes data and/or functionality from one website available for use in other applications. For example, desktop and mobile sites can interact with Facebook by implementing the Facebook API. This lets your users to “like” articles, post photos, and in return with your site/apps and gives your site/apps permissions to request access to the user’s Facebook information—all without having to redirect to facebook.com.

For further details click http://goo.gl/UB9AcH

3. DMPs

In simple terms, a DMP (data management platform) is a data warehouse. It’s a piece of software that sucks up, sorts and houses information, and spits it out in a way that’s useful for marketers, publishers and other businesses. For marketers, they’re most often used to manage cookie IDs and to generate audience segments, which are subsequently used to target specific users with online ads.

For further details click http://goo.gl/zJ1c6w

4. Machine Learning

Machine learning is a discipline combining science, statistics and computer coding that aims to make predictions based on patterns discovered in data. As opposed to rule-based decision systems, which follow an explicit set of instructions known in advance, machine learning algorithms are designed to analyse data and discover patterns that people cannot find by themselves.

Without machine learning, it is simply too difficult to compile and process the huge amounts of data coming from multiple sources (e.g., purchase behaviour, website visit flow, mobile app usage and responses to previous campaigns) required to predict what marketing offers and incentives will be most effective for each individual customer. However, when all of this data is made available to computers programmed to perform data mining and machine learning, very accurate next best action predictions can be made.

5. Predictive Marketing

Predictive marketing is the practice of utilising historical data, trends, and patterns to predict future outcomes.

Simply put, it means using what we already know about our current customers, lost business, and sales prospects and combining that with outside data, such as social media and company info, to identify which potential customers are most likely to buy our products/services. The outside data and trends analysed vary depending upon whether you are trying to sell to consumers or other businesses.

For further details click https://goo.gl/QwatW7

As you may already know, today you need not hire engineers and develop any marketing tech tool, there is a deluge of marketing technology products and services that you can simply plug and play. The challenge here is how to choose the different pieces that fit together in your unique enterprise. (More on this later)

Transforming into the “Digital” CMO

Unfortunately, there is no magic wand to instantly transform into an all-knowing “digital” CMO. The is truly up to you. But the good news is that the digital world is full of helping hands and insights from individuals that have been where you are now. All you need to do is look for them.

Needless to point, the above list is not exhaustive. And surely, for some of you these are basic while for some others these maybe a step or two ahead. I have simply put together a small list based on my discussions as a marketing tech solution provider and a digital transformation advisory board member.