New insights for healthcare marketers: IBM Global CMO Study

Big insights and ideas tend to come from outside our own categories. To this point, here are some important ideas from more than 1,700 CMO’s across 19 industries and 64 countries. They were the participants in IBM’s Global CMO Study, focused on the forces changing business and markets today.

Summary of findings include:

• Four biggest challenges/game-changers were: the data explosion, social media, proliferation of channels and devices, and shifting consumer demographics. The most proactive CMOs are trying to understand individuals as well as markets. Customer intimacy is crucial. In fact, in IBM’s last CEO study, getting closer to customers was one of three prerequisites for success in the twenty-first century.

• Advent of social media is challenging older, mass-marketing assumptions, skill sets and approaches. CMOs everywhere are aware of the distance they have to cover. The most proactive CMOs are mining new digital data sources to discover what individual customers and citizens want.

• CMOs in the most successful enterprises are focusing on relationships, not just transactions. They’re using data to stimulate interest in their organizations’ offerings and form bonds with customers to a much greater extent than their peers in less successful enterprises.

• CMO outperformers are committed to developing a clear “corporate character.” They recognize that what a business believes and how it subsequently behaves are as important as what it sells. And they make it their job to help management and employees exemplify the company’s values and purpose.

• Most CMOs are struggling in one vital aspect — return on investment (ROI). Nearly two-thirds of them think return on marketing investment will be the primary measure of their effectiveness by 2015. But proving that value is difficult. Even among the most successful enterprises, half of all CMOs feel insufficiently prepared to provide hard numbers.

Where next?

In the course of CMO conversations, an overwhelming consensus emerged. The vast majority believe there are three key areas for improvement:

Deliver value to empowered customers
The digital revolution has forever changed the balance of power between customer and organization. If CMOs are to understand and provide value to empowered customers and citizens, they will have to concentrate on getting to know individuals as well as markets and better grasp how individual customers behave.

Foster lasting connections
To effectively cultivate meaningful customer relationships, CMOs will have to connect with them in ways their customers perceive as valuable. This entails engaging them throughout the entire customer lifecycle, building online and offline communities of interest and collaborating with the rest of the C-suite to fuse the internal and external faces of the enterprise.

Capture value, measure results
Lastly, CMOs will have to quantify and analyze the financial results of their initiatives and communicate them to the entire organization to enhance their function’s credibility and effectiveness. They’ll also have to inject new skills into the marketing function by expanding the digital, analytical and financial capabilities of existing employees and by hiring staff or by partnering with specialists to fill the gaps.

Here’s the link to study.


Eric Brody

Eric Brody is President of Trajectory, launched in 1999, the specialist health & wellness branding and marketing agency using every moment to move customers, brands and businesses upward. Prior to Trajectory, Eric served as EVP and Management Board member at Interbrand (the world’s most influential brand consultancy). Before Interbrand, he held senior marketing positions at Beiersdorf Inc. and L’Oreal and advertising account management positions at Marschalk and Benton & Bowles.He has also taught as an adjunct professor at Seton Hall’s Graduate School of Communications and has lectured at Wharton Business School and Emory Goizueta School of Business.