I recently read an article in Forbes Right Now by Lisa Arthur, quoting Gartner’s statistics that CMOs will be outspending CIOs on IT in the next 5 years, driven by the inexorable rise in on-line business and Big Data. While I agree with her premise, I would say, that 5 years is too long! Companies that have not invested in Social Analytics in the next 24 months will lose market competiveness.
The commercial drive to reach global markets without scaling costs, the consumers’ need for instant gratification when purchasing, the marketer’s need for faster campaign feedback to fine tune their segmentation and many more other business pressures makes on-line marketing the obvious route to their clients for many businesses.
This in turn has resulted in a glut of raw data on our markets, addressable segments, client buying patterns, their on-line interactions and their loyalty scores. In addition, when used with their information on public and social media sites, we can not only ascertain their preferences, their hobbies, and their friends but know what they are doing and exactly where they are at any given time. What would you do different if you knew your top client was in your (e)store right now or a perfect profile prospect was researching your product category?
This is clearly a gold mine for any organization able to mine the information for nuggets they can use to target their prospects and hone their messages. It is the new way to understand and address your markets and figures suggest organizations are starting to see the light. Gartner predicts 2012 high tech marketing budgets have grown in the range of 9% to 11% compared to IT budget growth of only 4.7%. CMOs are directing these increases to investment in Social Analytics by implementing marketing automation, location based services, social media monitoring tools, tweet aggregators and analysers, sentiment and trend predictors, and Social CRM methods in order to understand and communicate with their clients on-line. In addition they will demand access to high performance, affordable analytical software like Vectorwise to be able to analyse billions of rows of data in seconds to decide which segments prefer their products, the profitability of each client, the exact price required to shift the inventory and a myriad of other metrics necessary to drive their business.
Today only 30% of companies (Actian being one of them) are executing a plan to get tooled up. These companies will have a head start as they start to learn and educate their clients to interact on-line, and their CMOs will not only be empowered with the entire client experience but also the key data to decide which products to kill, which markets to invest in, which clients to nurture and those to abandon to maximize profits.
The rest will have to move or be left behind – and it will happen a lot sooner than five years.The adoption is already accelerating to an inflection point where on-line will be the only route to market and a corporation’s digital marketing strategy will be a fundamental driver to business growth (and a seat on the board for the CMO – but that’s another blog!).