Marketing departments across various industries are depending on digital technology for managing content, reaching market segments, and conducting market research with the help of analytics. As the use and dependence continues to grow, it's likely that new skill sets will be created as well as the need for more marketing and technical knowledge among professionals.
A recent Gartner forecast suggests that 25 percent of businesses will plan to hire a chief digital officer by 2015. Due in part to the proliferation of social media and mobile computing, delivering consistent digital experiences requires knowledge of the technical tools used to attend to new channels. An executive level professional that orchestrates digital marketing experiences will be needed to streamline the relationship and collaboration between CIOs and CMOs.
Achieving growth and reaching new markets have become more intertwined with the digital experiences that a company offers. Consider Starbucks and its successful mobile campaigns. The mobile app offered by Starbucks requires digital design and development expertise, in addition to the marketing activities involved. The true value of a CDO will be to ensure consistency and adapt to trends that facilitate the optimization of digital business components: content management systems, web development, mobile applications, and e-commerce.
As cited in a separate Gartner report, CMOs are set to outspend CIOs in new technology investments by 2017. This creates an issue in terms of identifying marketing professionals who grasp the technical know-how to optimize digital marketing processes. Essentially, the CDO will attend to facilitating the understanding and coordination between IT and marketing to ensure optimal digital experiences for prospects and current clients.
Responsive design, remarketing, marketing attribution, and data analytics require technical knowledge outside the realm of most marketing professionals. Digital technology requires a digital focus. For instance, e-commerce optimization is integral to differentiating a business's online presence from its online competitors. Another example of the crossover is compiling user data from a mobile app and then assessing the data from a marketing standpoint. Conducting analysis of visitor data as well as past interaction history will require a technical facilitator (such as a CDO) to ensure the accuracy and consistency of reporting and analysis. In regards to marketing and remarketing attribution, digital technology is currently essential to the entire process. Remarketing involves the tracking of users' cookies to gain insight into what products they have searched for in the past, in an effort to personalize the web experience when arriving at your site.
If a shopper filled a basket at your site without finalizing a purchase, and then went on to a competitor's site to purchase similar items, it is helpful for the marketing team to understand why that choice occurred. By infusing technical knowledge into the analysis of such instances, a marketing department will have a clear understanding of what exactly its company's site lacks -- or what it is doing right.
For years, marketing, IT, and customer service have been segmented into rigid silos that inhibit facilitation between departments. As digital technology becomes increasingly crucial to the functions of marketing and customer service, there will be no denying the importance of a CDO. Today, consumers and businesses depend on the digital experiences offered by a brand. Without an adequate digital environment for conducting business, consumers and clients may be turned away from making purchases or hiring your services.
A CDO's main responsibility will be to assess digital offerings and experiences in relation to marketing and customer service operations. If a shopper is receiving incorrect shopping cart suggestions or the remarketing efforts are inaccurate, it is a technical problem in relation to marketing. Any lag time or mismanagement of your digital offerings can result in misplaced and lost opportunities to attract customers in the digital landscape. A CDO who specializes in the relationship between marketing and digital technology will help to imbue more agile processes for fixing issues and optimizing channels.
Prasant Varghese is a technical analyst at Icreon.
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