Yuchun Lee, Vice President, Enterprise Marketing Management, IBM Industry Solutions, spoke with Forbes first about the findings from IBM’s “State of Marketing 2012” study which surveyed more than 350 marketing professionals across a wide range of industries and geographies. Issued today, the survey finds that chief marketing officers and chief information officers must join forces in order to connect with today’s consumer across new channels including mobile devices and social networks. In addition to the vital marketing/IT alliance is the continued growth of mobile, where respondents are showing that mobile ads may represent the next rung in the evolution of mobile marketing. However, while marketers have a clear vision when it comes to mobile, the same cannot be said for social media where marketers lack the same clear consensus on how to best utilize this new medium.
Brandon Gutman: Can you explain the evolution of the CMO/CIO relationship?
Yuchun Lee: Traditionally, CMOs and their CIO have operated on separate sides of the fence but with big data emerging as a prized asset and the multichannel model gaining momentum, marketing as we know it is changing. Specifically CMOs are being asked to take on greater control of the IT budget. Gartner validated this phenomenon earlier this year, when it reported that by 2017 CMOs will have greater control of the IT budget than the CIO. In fact marketing budgets will grow 7-8% over the next 12 months, which is 2-3 times that of IT budgets. Despite this mounting reliance on technology and soaring budgets, most CMOs lack the skills needed to handle these new IT functions. What we found interesting is that despite these changes, a significant number of marketers have yet to reach out to their IT cohorts and tap into their expertise. This fact was supported by our survey where we found 60 percent of marketers point to their lack of alignment with the company’s IT department as the biggest obstacle to reaching today’s consumers.
Can the marketing IT relationship really impact a business?
Earlier I mentioned how businesses today are struggling when it comes to aligning their marketing and IT groups. Perhaps one explanation for their lack of movement is a question of whether or not this marketing/IT tandem can really impact business. Let me end that debate now with an affirmative yes. Our State of Marketing study found 51 percent of respondents who identified their companies as high-performing indicated they have good relationships between marketing and IT. That’s 10 percent higher than all other companies surveyed. Why do we see this happening? Well, these alliances give top performers greater responsibilities for things like products and services, price, place and promotion (the 4Ps), and communication across the purchasing cycle. With these responsibilities marketers are nearly three times more likely to be pro-active leaders in driving their organization’s customer experience across all channels, which is critical in the age of empowered consumer.
Is it safe to say that marketers are looking to mobilize their businesses?
There is no doubt that we have entered the mobile age of marketing. Over the 2011 holiday and the first half of this year, our IBM retail online economic indicator demonstrated the continued coming of age of mobile, with mobile commerce reaching record highs. In fact over Q1 of this year, mobile traffic accounted for 17 percent of all online traffic, that’s up from the 6 percent we saw in 2011. Based on our survey, mobile web sites and mobile applications are currently the two most popular mobile tactics, which is no surprise when you consider that both are key components of any successful commerce effort. However, what’s encouraging is the fact that marketers have shown they are not satisfied with their current efforts and have formulated a clear path for extending the reach to drive messages and offers. Specifically as we look toward the next 12 months, 34 percent of respondents intend to deliver mobile ads and 33 percent plan to use mobile versions of email. The key will be for marketers to continue making strides to integrate mobile marketing tactics in their overall campaigns, something which they can do with the help of IT.
Is this same evolution taking place on the social media side?
What’s interesting is while consumers continue to flock to social media, marketers remain puzzled when it comes to the best way bring this channel into their marketing mix. This comes as a stark contrast to what we are seeing on the mobile side. Right now the most popular social media marketing tactic is the use of pages on 3rd party social networking sites, a fairly conservative tactic that may not be compelling enough to have much influence in the social media playing field. The lack of consensus really comes into play when we asked marketers to talk about which social media tactics they plan to use in the next year. What we found are answers that range from launching third party applications to incorporating user-generated content and sharing links in email and web offers. One look at these responses and its quite obvious that marketers are still looking to find their way in a world where close to 100,000 tweets are posted every 60 seconds.
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