LAS VEGAS – Calling the chief marketing officer (CMO) market a $40 billion IT opportunity, IBM Corp. unveiled several new digital marketing optimization and commerce tools on Tuesday that aim to give the CMOs the technology they need to more effectively communicate and measure the effectiveness of their communications.

Speaking at the PartnerWorld Leadership Conference, IBM’s annual conference for its channel partners, John Iwata, senior vice-president of marketing and communications with IBM, said IBM’s C-suite surveys indicate the top challenge CMOs are looking to solve is to see customers not as segments or a demographic slice, but as individuals.

“They want to see you not as a subscriber, but as a unique individual,” said Iwata. “What they need to do, but aren’t familiar with, is data interaction.”

Data can drive a lot of powerful new marketing tools for CMOs, said Iwata. One initiative they’re trying to drive is “next best offer.” In marketing terms, it’s about getting to know the individual and understanding their buying patterns, so you can predict what they’ll want next and be ready to offer it to them. In technology terms, it’s better known as predictive analytics.

Another is “next best action.” How can an organization not just make you an offer, but recommend an action around what you should do? It may not be in service of commerce, but of enhanced customer service, such as an airline recognizing your flight is likely to be delayed and recommending a new itinerary before the delay even occurs. In technology terms, it’s perceptive analytics.

CMO challenges with technology.
CMO challenges with technology.

“All the data is there. We just have to put it together,” said Iwata.

Getting a single view of the customer across channels and giving them a single view of the company, pricing products to local market conditions, all are examples of CMO challenges that can be addressed through data and technology. The key to making it a success though, said Iwata, is the CMO and chief information officer (CIO) partnership.

“The CMO and CIO need to be a team to be successful, and make their skills in data, cloud, social and mobile relevant to the CMO,” said Iwata. “And let’s not try to talk only about technology, but focus on business outcomes.”

To help bridge that gap, IBM launched its Ready for Smarter Commerce program, an ecosystem which gives clients access to certified pre-built partner solutions with integrated cloud, mobile and social capabilities. One solution already available is a tool from Invodo that helps retailers quickly create, deploy and measure the sales impact of video content across their websites. Another is Shoutlet Inc., an enterprise social relationship platform that helps clients measure the impact of their social media campaigns.

Mapping CMO priorities to technology investment.
Mapping CMO priorities to technology investment.

Another new tool is IBM Commerce Composer, which aims to help clients modify the look and feel of their online storefront without a great deal of technical or coding expertise.

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