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4 Technology Trends for CMOs in 2021

The market dynamics modern CMOs need to watch in 2021.

The pandemic is blocking well-worn pathways to customer delight with significant obstacles. Now companies are looking for new ways to deliver a differentiated end-to-end customer experience digitally across departments. What does this mean for the modern CMO? Read on to learn more.

Trend 1: Customer experience will be a strategic focus for corporations
In 2021, customer experience (CX) will be a significant focus of organizational investments. Of course, being customer-centric isn't new. The difference will be how leaders map digital strategies to outcomes and use technology to deliver a better user experience.

More organizations will move toward departments structured to deliver end-to-end CX using agile methodologies to achieve outcomes faster. The ability to bring these full-scale product delivery teams together will become increasingly important.

"2021 will be the year that every company — not just the 15% of firms that were already digitally savvy — doubles down on technology-fueled experiences, operations, products, and ecosystems," wrote Sharyn Leaver, SVP, Research at Forrester, in a list of predictions for 2021.

Trend 2: High expectations for CMOs
CMOs will control the entire customer lifecycle in 2021, according to the same Forrester article. And companies are making financial investments to support this shift. Despite a worldwide pandemic and an economic downturn, 68% of CMOs expect increased marketing technology spend in 2021.

A priority is building personalized customer experiences that bolster loyalty, retention, and, ultimately, company sales. Creating meaningful customer connections requires a holistic view of customers gleaned from a wide array of data from across the organization.

While most companies do not suffer from a shortage of data, customer insights can be in short supply if valuable customer data is in disparate silos across the organization. The question is: how can you integrate systems and consolidate data so you can deliver on expectations?

Trend 3: Building IT competencies within the marketing team
Marketers are strategists who understand customer needs and create customer journeys with the right touchpoints to drive lead generation and conversion.

Marketers typically aren’t technology pros and, according to Gartner, use only 58% of their existing MarTech stack. Most don’t have the technical skills or predisposition to speak the lingo of cloud integrations or understand the backend magic that drives a personalized, omnichannel user experience. As a result, integration and optimization of MarTech are slow — if it happens at all.

The modern CMO needs to imbue their team with a higher level of IT competencies to accelerate digital outcomes. To incorporate the necessary skills into their groups, the modern CMO takes various tactics — hiring directly, leveraging their company’s IT department, or contracting with a third-party.

Trend 4: The rise of the Digital Navigators
A growing trend is leveraging Digital Navigators, team members who are fluent in both marketing and technology. The most significant benefit is their ability to get the marketing team closer to customers, align CX across platforms, and unlock insights from data to make better decisions. They provide a balanced perspective between IT and marketing, cutting through functional jargon to decipher pros and cons to facilitate decision-making and troubleshooting.

These Digital Navigators have a deep understanding of the necessary steps to deliver on the marketing team's vision and guide agile delivery teams through three key stages:

  •  Align: Using research analysis, the Digital Navigator aligns goals and objectives within the delivery team.
  •  Define: Once goals are defined, the Digital Navigator collaborates with the team to determine the framework and the roadmap to success.
  •  Deliver: Using an interactive workflow, the Digital Navigator delivers on expectations.

“When we first started working on the member portal, our satisfaction score was in the 40s. With digital navigators' help, our scores toggled between 79 and low 80s, which is comparable to most retailers. To take healthcare to this level is pretty impressive."—Matt Gilliss, Former Vice President of User Experience & Design at a Fortune 500 Health Insurance Company

Prepare for what's next
The customer experience will drive digital investments and efforts in the coming months — and CMOs will be in the spotlight.

To learn more about leveraging technology for a better customer journey — and incorporating more of the right IT skills into your marketing team — download our ebook, Into the Wild: The Modern CMO's Guide to Mapping Digital Strategy to Outcomes.

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