Share this content

Will the next generation of CMOs come from the customer intelligence discipline?

23rd Nov 2009
Share this content

In the not-too-distant future, organisations looking to fill the post of chief marketing officer (CMO) may not peruse the marketing department for the perfect candidate. According to a study by Forrester Research, the next generation of CMOs will in fact hail from the customer intelligence discipline.

The report, ‘The Intelligent Approach to Customer Intelligence’, suggests that changes in consumer behaviour, and a subsequent struggle to understand customers, will force businesses to put greater stock in customer intelligence.

Author of the report, Dave Frankland, describes this as “injecting science into the art of marketing”. He points to comments by Andreas Weigend, Amazon’s former chief scientist, that individuals will generate more data this year than in the combined history of mankind. An incredible statement to make – but one that bears contemplation.

In his blog, Frankland says: “Customer Intelligence (CI) professionals sit at the nexus of this data explosion, while also dealing with tectonic shifts in customer behaviour, and an increased demand for marketing accountability.”
Certainly, in light of increasingly jaded and socially connected consumers, marketers require a new way to look at customers, and intelligence will allow firms to use data to drive improved customer experiences and acquire a deeper customer knowledge. And with senior executives demanding quantifiable metrics from their marketing departments, the rising appeal of intelligence cannot be denied.
But the meat of Forrester’s survey of 300 CI professionals reveals two particularly interesting facts. Firstly, only a quarter of respondents are actually measuring the impact of their customer intelligence endeavours. And secondly, of those that are, there are significant improvements being reported. For instance:
  • Of the 53 respondents using campaign metrics metric, 83% saw improvement.
  • Of the 55 using customer satisfaction metrics, 78% saw improvement.
  • Of the 43 using incremental revenue metrics, 77% saw improvement.
  • Of the 57 using customer retention metrics, 75% saw improvement.
In light of the general sentiment surrounding customer intelligence and the resounding success revealed by those with metrics to report, the research paper forecasts the evolution of customer intelligence from a tactical and functional role to the future “command centre for business”.  
And Frankland suggests that in those organisations that are in the most advanced stage of CI maturity, the customer intelligence function has already evolved into a strategic weapon to create competitive advantage. In these organisations, Frankland suggests, customer intelligence is being used far beyond merely campaign performance - they also use CI to improve customer acquisition, retention and satisfaction as well as increase revenue, profitability and customer value.
The upshot of this evolution is that when organisations next approach the appointment of a CMO, they may well turn to the customer intelligence department as the first port of call.
“The next generation CMO will come from the customer intelligence discipline,” Frankland writes.  “That’s not to say CMOs won't continue to care deeply about the brand, and the emotional connection that they create with their customers. But, as they struggle to engage with empowered, connected customers who have limited tolerance for marketing, firms will elevate CI within their organisations to influence mission critical business decisions with data-driven insights. These CMOs will help their organisations to focus on customer value, and use it as the connective tissue that causes all marketers and business units to pull in the same direction.”
A call to arms for left-brain marketers across the globe? That’s certainly what is being suggested.

Related content

Replies (1)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

By hypatia
30th Nov 2009 15:06


Interesting point of view....Hypatia Research, LLC, which focuses exclusively on Customer Intelligence Research, published and put forth this research finding [including that Marketing is both an Art + Science] in 2006!  Glad to see that Forrester is keeping up with independent boutique firms.

Team Hypatia Research, LLC



Thanks (0)