Data Science for the CMO

At Vuzo we consistently observe two factors affecting the CMO or Marketing Director.

  1. Generally, marketers are ahead of their peers in terms of what’s happening in digital.
  2. The CMO role is changing.

And we relate accounts of three main changes in the Marketing Function:

  1. The marketing department is becoming a digital educator for the rest of the organisation.
  2. The CMO owns and can educate about the new digital metrics that will apply to other functions that they don’t see yet. Very few companies have a digital dashboard that coexists and reconciles with the CFO dashboard. Think of the number of times the CMO has to justify boosting user engagement, and CFOs have no idea what that means and how that actually adds value. There’s more clarity required around digital metrics.
  3. Marketers by definition are outward-looking, learning from users and measuring market demands. And one of the biggest challenges that large companies face is not innovating fast enough, and having a Chief Innovation Officer doesn’t suddenly fix that. But a marketer has the lookout-post and the learning systems, and the agency relationships, to know what innovations are coming, that the company can integrate and profit from. The CMO brings new innovation into the company, not just mar-tech but decision-tech.

Digital adoption through data science brings us experimentation that has never been quicker or cheaper. You don’t need millions of pounds of investment to experiment. You can do 52 experiments a year on things that you’re not completely sure about, but if one or two of them hit the mark, they can change fortunes overnight.

But wait, few of these changes will be to the core business!

Selling pet food, say, is not going to radically change next year or in the next decade. But the design of that experience is going to change beyond recognition in the same time period. That’s the transformation which data unlocks. Having a good data science function or agency shortens the time to successful transformation. And shortens the time to realising profits from it.

In summary, the the new CMO SKILL AREAS are

the digital teacher,

the introducer of innovation & decision-tech

and the guardian of UX

Where innovation’s concerned, having the expertise and skills to run fast experiments on what the business could benefit from, prototyping, deciding which new tech is worth adding to the website, is really important. This has to be shielded to an extent from the main organisation who are delivering today’s product. If there’s room in the marketing team for an incubator, it’s fertile ground to start one.

The skillset required to innovate digital product/service delivery in marketing is not well marked-out. But it will organically happen in companies, under external pressure. The only question is whether marketing will step up and lead the digital transformation. Or will it be set up by the CDO, or the Chief Innovation Officer, or a future-facing CEO who designates it as a special project?

We believe marketing has a very valid claim on ownership of that project. Marketing leadership can scope its extent, give it boundaries, so it can be delivered in discrete stages, successfully.

Different CMOs play the role of digital educator in their own style. A CMO with a strong data capability, who can encourage the CEO to test and experiment with various things in digital, seems to be the most effective approach.

There are plenty of digital marketers who are very good at communications, at performance marketing, at channel optimisation or understanding how your old-style marketing translates into the new digital age. But that’s not the same as marketers looking to research and develop propositions and services that drive value creation in the business. That;s a newer skillset and data science is at the core of it.

Next steps

Whether you have a specific proof of concept/pilot project in mind, or would like to explore how to best make use of Vuzo's expertise and AI/ML resource to influence your organisation's growth and direction, we are ready to provide industry insight and knowledge from successful digitalisation projects that are highly relevant to the CMO's challenges.

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