Tuesday, February 14, 2017

CMO: 3 Action Items to Prepare for AI and Machine Learning

As a CMO, you are likely feeling pressure to move your marketing efforts towards artificial intelligence and machine learning, two very complex topics. Underlying these topics are a solid understanding of analytics and data. As a graduate student at Northwestern University in the Medill IMC program with an interest in marketing analytics, I have found two articles that address the basics of building a strong analytical foundation in marketing.

The first article, Marketing Analytics Can Improve the Customer Experience, argues that marketing analytics is a crucial part of understanding the customer experience. Most companies have the data but are held back by silos within the company that prevent the company from integrating the data across channels. And it is the responsibility of the CMO to break down these silos and shift to a more customer-centric approach. The most successful companies are those that use measurement and analytics across all customer-facing functions to gain a complete customer view, therefore allowing them improve the customer experience.  The article was featured on the Harvard Business Review by Google Analytics 360 Suite.


The other article, How An Analytic Mindset Changes Marketing Culture, discusses the benefits of combining analytics with marketing efforts to not only measure the effectiveness of past campaigns, but also to focus on actions in the future. This allows marketers to be more proactive than reactive. With the availability of data today, marketers should no longer be relying on their gut to make decisions. The key is to use the data to develop insights and tell a story, resulting in the ability to adjust in real-time and improve results. The article was written by Adele K. Sweetwood and published on the Harvard Business Review.

Based on my review of these two articles and relevant studies I have done in the Northwestern Medill IMC program, I have developed three action items for you to take as soon as possible:

  • Establish analytical culture – be open to using analytics to improve your marketing efforts
  • Break down silos – marketing and analytics should not be separate, and benefits cannot truly be maximized without the contribution of all customer-facing functions
  • Find useful insights – companies have mass amounts of data available at their fingertips, but data is not valuable without the ability to develop useful, actionable insights

With the marketing industry moving rapidly towards artificial intelligence and machine learning, consider these three action items to make sure your marketing department is ready for what’s to come.

Ashley Tomzik is a graduate student at Northwestern University’s Medill IMC program, specializing in Marketing Analytics, who will be graduating in December. Prior to Northwestern, I have gained valuable experience, holding a range of analytical roles. You can contact me on Twitter (@ashley_tomzik) or LinkedIn.

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