CMO-CIO relationship – the key to successful marketing strategies is personalisation not segmentation

These days, when I buy goods and services from a company I want the experience to feel personal and effortless. The experience has to be consistent across mobile, social, online, in-store and over the phone – there’s nothing more frustrating than having to repeat your customer service enquiry to multiple people or find out the jacket you liked online is actually cheaper in-store, but not in your size.

In our mobile, always-on digital world, creating a personalised, one-to-one experience has never been more crucial. In fact, our latest Connected Customer report shows that 45% of consumers and 57% of business users say that by 2020 they will switch brands if a company doesn’t actively anticipate their needs.

But the reality is that many companies today are relying solely on segmenting their customer base into different groups, rather than offering true personalisation. It almost seems that the words ‘personalisation’ and ‘segmentation’ have become interchangeable in the marketing community. To me, this is a slippery slope: segmentation on its own is static – it can’t address the changing needs and preferences of customers where we can know more about them than just an age, gender and location.

As marketers we need to identify the evolving preferences and behaviours of our customers in order to continually provide them with the very best experiences and increase their engagement with our brand. That’s true personalisation.

However, the chief marketing officer can’t do this by themselves. In order to successfully deliver a personalised experience the CMO and chief information officer need to work more closely. Let me explain why.

Successful marketing campaigns rely on technology

Today, marketing goes hand in hand with technology. I’ve had the privilege of working as a developer and as a marketer, so I’ve seen first-hand how the marketing team relies on back-end, automated processes and data analysis to ensure a campaign runs smoothly and delivers maximum impact. However, what can sometimes be forgotten is that all of this technology is procured and managed by the CIO. We therefore need to have a better understanding of each other’s roles and objectives, because the technology marketing needs to deliver personalised experiences to customers is ultimately purchased and signed off by the CIO.

Overall, it’s the CMO’s job to take into account the IT governance and existing systems when purchasing a new piece of software or rolling out a tech-based campaign, to ensure that it performs optimally. Equally, the CIO needs to consider prioritising the development or integration necessary to successfully deploy marketing-critical software.

The customer journey is the responsibility of everyone

As I mentioned earlier, customers interact with a brand on many different channels and devices – from the customer service team on the phone to the sales manager via email. This means that marketing, service and sales are all interacting with a customer so it’s essential that they have access to the same customer details and information.

In marketing we call this the 360-degree view of the customer, and achieving this relies on connecting customer data from across all the different channels and devices they use. Having a single view of your customers is critical for achieving a personalised marketing campaign because only then can you offer the right promotion at the right time to the right person.

Personalisation requires lots of data

Alongside the single view of the customer, you also need data to personalise and tailor your service and communications based on what you know about the end user. Fortunately this data is readily available thanks to social media, email, web searches, phone and in-store interactions. However, the volumes we’re dealing in now mean it’s important to work very closely with your IT. After all, the CIO is essentially the company’s information architect.

Together, marketing and IT can work together to make sure customer data is collected, analysed and distributed across relevant teams quickly and efficiently.

Sucessful companies today understand that personalisation is key to providing a standout customer experience. Only by working closely together can the CMO and CIO ensure their teams are able to deliver this.

Guillaume Roques is chief marketing officer, EMEA at Salesforce

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