Why Every CMO Needs To Be A Wartime CMO Today

There’s no doubt that what we are living through right now, is a black swan event – defined as ‘an event that cannot be predicted, and that changes the course of the future in every aspect’. Can CMOs arm themselves with data and the power of online, to prepare for the long-term consequences of the crisis, and seize the opportunities in the markets to come?

Blackswan

Nothing is the same. Even more than before.

In just a matter of months, the world has changed and the rules have been rewritten. Lockdowns all over the SEA region have reported a drop in offline sales and has accelerated the move to digital conversion and retail through omni-channel strategies.

In addition, Work from Home policies have also created many challenges to organizations – among them infrastructure, accessibility, security and quality control. Quarantine measures have reinforced the importance of online, digital and data, and the need for a Martech stack optimized for remote access.

The Wartime CMO Checklist

Long-standing paradigms are drastically changing, on the consumer-facing front and in business processes too. It now falls to CMOs to adopt wartime-like strategies and prepare their organizations to weather this storm, and if at all possible, to conquer it.

Here are the top 5 things that the wartime CMO should put on their agenda.

1. Use data to focus on customer retention

In turbulent markets like these as all else changes, the one constant is data. Using data, the wartime CMO can create better, more effective strategies. Data provides a deeper understanding of your customers allowing you to not only improve your CX and develop richer relationships, but also observe and understand the new ways they interact with your brand. This data-backed understanding in turn would lead to a higher customer retention – maintaining brand loyalty and keeping spends intact.

In addition, giving you the leverage to make necessary decisions – as the marketing dollar becomes more precious, what channels would be most effective in reaching your desired audiences? Or what kind of ads or content would work best? Not to mention, also using data to step up your customer experience efforts. At a time when customer anxiety is at a high – you can tailor each of your touchpoints to ensure a smoother CX. In truth, data becomes the light to guide your organisation through the crisis.

2. Demand more ROI from your martech stack

Your martech stack plays a vital role in formulating your strategy, but is it delivering optimal ROI? In times of crisis, marketers must look at running a leaner setup – especially when it comes to martech. Investments in Martech must look at a long-term approach – the problems you are trying to solve, and conversely how to build the optimal stack for your company. Similarly, a martech tool that is tough to use or implement and as a result, rarely used is better off discarded. Now is the time to get the most value from your current MarTech stack – to check if it delivers a true consolidated view of your customer journey and enables you to apply precision marketing strategies. Your ideal martech stack must be lean, cost-efficient, easy to use and must ultimately pander to the one goal of all marketing – the customer, whether acquiring new audiences or retaining the existing base.

3. Don’t cut your budgets in a panic

At a time when most brands are cutting marketing spends and waiting for the storm to pass, it’s tempting to follow the herd. But there’s more reason to keep your ad investments intact. While markets may seem upturned, it’s prudent to remember that people still have wants and needs. And brands that advertise in a downturn are usually the only ones that show improved performance in the long-term. Sticking on in the subconscious, and once markets return to normal – scoring higher on brand recall.

An interesting case-study would be during the recession of the 1970’s, when Toyota was running in second-place in the US automotive market. But by sticking to their ad budget even in the midst of it, Toyota came out the winner, even surpassing Volkswagen as the top imported carmaker by 1976.

It’s important to build your brand equity by maintaining your ad spend, and doubling down by making your ads more targeted and using micro-segmentation, to increase their effectiveness. All while your competition cuts back. Allowing your organisation to not just come through, but come out on top.

4. Innovation is the way forward

If it was a byword before, innovation is now a necessity. As markets and consumer behaviour undergo shifts, CMOs must look at innovation to adapt and overcome any obstacles. Based on customer-base data, CMOs can study changes to implement ideas that could keep their organisation afloat, or even take it into a newer brighter direction. Migration to online marketplaces, a more targeted online advertising campaign, personalised content through new channels, as well as newer products to match current consumer needs would be the call of the hour to effectively engage and maybe even acquire new customers.

5. Bolster your forces with allies

Especially in times of crisis, CMOs must remember that there’s always help at hand – consultant experts to execute specialised tasks that might not have been possible with existing resources.

As the crisis looms large, CMOs may find themselves having to take unprecedented measures – without having the time to master the learning curve. Consultant experts and their services might be useful here to not only help you see your vision successfully through to completion, but also to offer new angles that could lead to leaps ahead of the competition. Not to mention, providing the support and data needed to make difficult decisions.

For instance, we have worked with clients to deliver high-quality customer data to enhance their marketing methods. Some clients have been empowered to micro-segment, target and personalise customer audiences, providing a single consolidated customer view to enrich knowledge of new customer trends and online movement.

In conclusion, there is a definite black swan event upon us, and no one can predict how long the conditions will prevail. But only businesses that embrace the primacy of data and use it to innovate their infrastructure, processes and customer experience can hope to weather the storm. Or even, come out stronger on the other side.

Jana Marle Zizkova

CEO | Founder Jana is the co-founder and CEO of Meiro. She is passionate about data, tea, art, diversity, and her non-profit initiative @Shelovesdata.
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