Ten actions for CMOs
1. Sustain leadership momentum
If COVID-19 motivated new ways for leadership teams to work together around accelerating the digital agenda, we all must find ways to maintain that momentum. Search for ways to sustain the positive effects of breaking down the silos by function and geography to create value faster.
2. Accelerate first party data growth
The crisis showed us that we needed precision in messaging by geography, customer segment and supply chain condition, all of which is enabled by access to first party data. For most companies, consolidating, growing and enriching consumer data has taken on new urgency. Companies that harness the power of their data, while building a powerful foundation of privacy compliance and data security, will be well positioned to personalize experiences and maximize marketing outcomes.
3. Build from the outside in
If you kick the tires of your digital experience and find friction, that means consumers are experiencing the same friction in their digital journeys to learn about products or services, buy them, or seek customer service. Wherever possible, we must prioritize “outside-in” assessments of the digital experience to keep us honest about the priorities and remove pain points.
4. Adapt innovation strategies
Whether innovation was sourced internally, from stables of investments, or from consumers directly, the priorities have likely shifted given how quickly behaviors and values changed due to COVID-19. While social listening is certainly not new, the question is: how we can we add new sources of data to our sentiment analysis, do it more often and elevate the visibility of these analyses to drive our innovation efforts?
5. Accelerate direct-to-consumer/e-commerce
While e-commerce is not necessarily appropriate for every business, many consumer-facing companies are recognizing that their direct-to-consumer acquisitions were either not sufficiently integrated and scaled, or they found their e-commerce technologies had not advanced quickly enough to keep pace with the scale or expectations of consumers post-COVID.
6. Virtualized service
As more sales move from physical to digital experiences, customer care will follow the same pattern. Safety concerns motivated companies to accelerate ideas around self-service kits or remote video assistance, and these moves now afford the opportunity to permanently scale virtualized service and reduce costs while enhancing both customer and employee safety.
7. Prioritize use cases for marketing technology
The “tech stack” does not just need to be built out – it needs to be built out appropriately to what will actually be used and will create value. It is important to understand which use cases add the most value to customer growth and configure technology with those priorities in mind as quickly as possible, focusing on adoption of the new capabilities by the organization.
8. Embrace digital technology to create safety
Safety will become the new expectation for both employees and customers entering retail. Touchless payment systems are likely to accelerate over concerns about contact at checkout. For example, research shows 59% of consumers are now using contactless payments more often, with 54% increasingly using smartphones to pay or credit cards (42%) to avoid physical risk.1
There may also be opportunities to dovetail mobile experiences even more aggressively in physical retail to facilitate navigation and purchase while enhancing social distancing.