The role of the CMO has evolved in recent years. With brands in Asia Pacific increasingly looking to make customer experience as personalised and relevant as possible, marketers and agencies now require a more thorough knowledge of data, technology and consumer insights. In fact, Gartner predicts that CMOs will outspend CIOs for the first time ever by 2017, according to Gartner, By 2017 the CMO Will Spend More on IT Than the CIO, and as data analysis now provides a wealth of deep insights into consumer behaviour, the onus is on agencies to work closely with technology partners to harness that power and make the most of these growing marketing budgets.
Data now influences every aspect of a brand’s marketing efforts. Agencies analyse the data to channel investments into a wide range of consumer touchpoints, including social media, web browsing history, customer databases, and even geo-spatial location. These data extrusion points can tell the agency about a consumer’s online and retail habits - where they go, what they do when they get there - and allows the build-up of behavioural patterns. With such data and analytical capabilities at their disposal, agencies have an increasingly important role to play in activating brand communication. They can help brands implement a data management strategy to better align needed data with their technology stack as well as help them share insights that influence future campaigns.
Based on a recent study conducted by MediaMath and The CMO Club, close to 55% of marketers listed ‘ownership and activation of data’ as the most critical part of how their agency has succeeded in conveying their brand message; MediaMath, Evolving Your Agency Partnership Model to Drive Programmatic Success. The question then arises – how much data should a company allow access to and how much does an agency require in order to fulfill their role?
A little over a quarter of CMOs allow their agency to access and activate all first-party data, whereas more than a third limit the amount of data their agency can access, according to MediaMath, Evolving Your Agency Partnership Model to Drive Programmatic Success. It is incumbent upon the CMO to decide which data sets are relevant to their marketing strategy and where to draw the line between providing third-party access to relevant information for data-driven insights and retaining information that might be sensitive or unnecessary.
Also high on a CMO’s wish list, according to the same report, is agency alignment between campaign goals and business goals, with close to a third of marketers believing that such alignment is the most important ingredient for excellent agency support, according to MediaMath, Evolving Your Agency Partnership Model to Drive Programmatic Success. This necessitates a clear and transparent relationship underpinned by a deep understanding of the nature of the client’s business and what they want to achieve from their digital marketing strategy. Programmatic marketing allows a campaign to be tweaked while it is ‘live,’ so an agency now has the ability to focus on a particular channel that is garnering success, or change the emphasis of a campaign to focus on a specific message that is working better than others. At the same time, agencies can also leverage their planning prowess to adapt campaigns in real-time. This means breaking the silos across the firm and making it possible to fully apply advertising technology, across the client organization.
At this point, the relationship between the CMO and their agency becomes critical, with the need for a clear and collaborative pathway for communicating the brand’s needs. 20 percent of CMOs in the report said that they want a relationship with their agency that challenges them to think outside the box and allows for open communication, rather than a simple instruct-and-perform type of agreement, according to MediaMath, Evolving Your Agency Partnership Model to Drive Programmatic Success.
Moving forward, maximising the relationship between the CMO, agency, and technology requires centralising and activating the best customer data, deciding on a clear path for putting that data to best use, goal alignment and having a two-way, communicative relationship between the brand and agency in order to tap into new ideas and best uses for emerging technology.
By MediaMath Asia Pacific MD, Rahul Vasudev