Crossing the Digital Divide: 3 Important Steps to Completing the Journey

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Crossing the Digital Divide: 3 Important Steps to Completing the Journey

While moderating a round table discussion recently at the Millennial Alliances Financial Services CMO Assembly “The Shift to the New Connected World,” several important themes became apparent. As we transition from the traditional marketing model to the digital/data-driven marketing model, the journey for each company is unique, but the overall objective is similar – creating an omni-channel marketing experience. The collection of all-star financial services CMOs felt that the keys to success are dependent on getting their internal colleagues aligned to their corporate goals and educating them on how best to complete this transition.

What also struck me while listening to them was how the role of the CMO has evolved. Once upon a time, the CMO was the brand advocate focusing on the brand’s image, its attributes and developing marketing programs that clearly articulated and reinforced its value proposition. Now, as we transition to a digital marketing model, the emphasis has shifted to data collection, analysis and insights. The CMO remains the brand’s advocate, but now the title of Chief Marketing Technologist (CMT) could, and perhaps should be, added to their job description. So, in order for marketers to achieve their goals, they must first become fluent in “technology” speak in order to engage their IT partners and turn them into co-conspirators of their omni-channel vision. We have finally reached the “one-to-one” marketing cross-roads thanks to advances in technology. To help you complete the journey and arrive safely, here are three important steps you should consider:

  1. Data Strategy – Develop a holistic data strategy that identifies and collects data across multiple touch-points (inclusive of social media) that collects customer insights and communication preferences. That process begins during the information gathering phase of the customer journey, through the onboarding process and beyond. As the customer’s relationship expands, data can be leveraged to determine the optimal communication channel mix and channel attribution to help drive profitability. This by no means is an easy process, which is why the CMO panel ranks prioritization of goals as a critical component of success. If the prioritization of goals is done correctly, it could help reduce marketing costs while increasing your bottom line.
  2. Personalization – Data-driven marketing enables personalized experiences. In the past, marketers would create campaigns that were usually product-driven and pushed out aggressively to consumers. Today, the key is to move away from the idea of marketing campaigns and towards an “always on” approach. Now we have the ability to deliver the right offer, at the right time, through the right channel, all based on data provided by the customer. And to foster meaningful interactions, companies need to create content that educates and/or advocates on the customer’s behalf, which in turn helps generate qualified leads and ultimately, profitable customers.
  3. CMO-CIO Collaboration – By far, developing a strong collaborative working relationship between the CMO & CIO is the most critical step to completing the journey successfully. Though that may seem like an easy “no-brainer,” according to a recent Rackspace survey, 46% of marketing leaders are frustrated that IT does not work quickly enough, while 47% of IT leaders felt that marketing wants to move too quickly, forcing them to compromise quality, thereby increasing organizational risk and security. Yes, there are challenges and competing agendas, but in the current environment, neither party is achieving its goals. The answer, I believe is what my CMO colleagues discussed at our round table session: sit down with your colleagues, educate them and set priorities to build a joint plan where both parties are invested and can claim victory. After a couple of quick wins, trust will grow and then you can move on to implementing the “always on” omni-channel banking experience your customers having been waiting for.


Steve Facini, is the CMO of the financial services, automotive and media practice areas at ondemandCMO.  You can reach him at [email protected]

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