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The New Chief Marketing Officer

Ashley Tollitt, Director Marketing, Asia Pacific at Verizon | May 12, 2014
The CMO role is at a tipping point

2.       Big Data: Fact or Fantasy?

Big Data provides even more reason for CMOs to lead conversations at the global boardroom table. It enables faster data-based decision making, can provide deeper insight into customers and can uncover trends and ideas for potential new products.

While Asia Pacific currently trails the US Big Data adoption curve, organizations within the region think they'll catch up with their US peers within two years. 44.7% will invest in the next two years, up from 37%, lifting the region's adoption rates to the same proportions as the US, and comfortably ahead of EMEA.[14]


Big Data will be a competitive and differentiating factor to support the development of new audiences, revenue streams and business models. Gartner estimates that businesses who have adopted and implemented Big Data initiatives over the past two years can expect to start outperforming their competitors financially by as much as 20% by 2015.[15]

A company's ability to tailor an experience that best meets customers' personalized needs will differentiate itself from competition. Today's consumers are overwhelmed by the myriad of information and devices. It is important for organizations to refocus on consumer touch points to develop integrated omnichannel connections - across online, mobile and in-store, so as to ensure that they feel valued at every step of the purchase and experience lifecycle.

Having precision market insights into what their customers do, where they go, and what they like will help companies understand trends and engage their customers better. They will introduce new routes to markets by enabling businesses to engage directly with the individual on demand, and build trusted connections to simplify transactions. Insight provided by big data analytics will create new, individualized marketing opportunities that will transform and focus the customer engagement model.

3.       The Next Phase for CMOs

The challenge for CMOs lies in adapting to changing situations dynamically and efficiently. In view of evolving consumers' behaviors, landscapes and savvier consumers, creating meaning from data will increasingly support core decision-making and innovation. However, data alone is not enough. CMOs must adapt and learn new skills to fully leverage the benefits that Big Data offers.

In a 2013 survey by IDC and Computerworld, 33% of respondents noted the "lack of sufficiently skilled big data and analytics IT staff" as one of their big data challenges. The challenge also extends into lines of business and marketing, with 45% of respondents citing "lack of sufficient number of staff with appropriate analytics skills" as one of their big data challenges.[16]

According to a Korn/Ferry study, learning agility is central to success. 61% of executives agree that learning agility is the most important attribute to consider when promoting senior marketing leaders.[17] Two facets in particular stand out as differentiators, enabling CMOs to take advantage of new technologies and data, capture new markets, and lead enterprise-wide transformation efforts: change-agility and mental-agility.


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