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Data proficiency: now vital for CMOs?

"Today’s marketers need to have a different skillset. For most people in the marketing department, their job is actually changing."

So says Berit Block, Marketing Director at programmatic marketing platform DataXu. And many would agree he has a point: today’s marketing skillset looks very different to that of just a decade or two ago.

Why? The simple answer is 'data'. As in almost every other area of modern life, marketing has been revolutionised by the world of data that the digital age has brought with it.

Long gone are the days of blanket communication and homogenous ad campaigns based on assumptions about target audiences. The connection economy has created a new standard of marketing built on relevant, considered and personalised communication – a new model and approach powered by intelligent insights. And those insights are derived from rich data about the people that matter most to brands: consumers.

The advent of 'big data' presents an incredible opportunity but an equally significant challenge for businesses to tackle. Put simply: mastery of complex technology is now a requirement for the modern day marketer. Technology is changing the shape of marketing and companies need to evolve and adapt to keep up.

Recent research carried out by DataXu revealed that 70% of the 250 marketers surveyed believed their companies will be hiring more tech-focussed marketers, or even a dedicated 'Chief Marketing Technologist', in the next five years.

But whether an overhaul of human resources and the creation of specialist 'marketing technologist' roles is the answer to the challenge, is up for debate. Before taking such a leap, brands would do well to remember that technology isn't simply a means to an end, but rather an important tool that needs to be woven into the existing fabric of an organisation’s marketing approach. As Chris Le May, UK & Nordics Managing Director at DataXu, explains:

The point of technology is to remove wasted man hours, not replace people. The creativity and messaging of marketing is still going to be there, but data and technology give teams a more detailed brief and greater scope to talk to better defined audience groups.

So, rather than creating separate specialist roles – and in the process abdicating responsibility from existing marketing staff for understanding and embedding marketing technology into their everyday craft – perhaps concentrating efforts on collectively upskilling and evolving existing in-house resources might be the smarter approach.

Powerful automation tools like censhare are making it easier and more efficient than ever for brands to get a handle on big data and translate it into smart marketing solutions. Swiss sustainable design firm Vitra is one such company which, using censhare, revolutionised its internal approach to data-driven, multichannel marketing, with fantastic results.

Using censhare's Digital Asset Management and Content Management tools, Vitra was able to bring together a number of different work streams, replacing existing image database, product information management, translation memory, and web content management systems. Centralising and streamlining these workflows enabled Vitra to communicate consistently across all channels, boosting efficiency and cutting costs. To find out more, explore Vitra's story.

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