Aimee Munsell, Director of Smarter Marketing for IBM, works primarily with CMOs as they and their companies adapt marketing strategies in a digital world. CMOs see very clearly what’s happening and how brand strategies now converge around the connected and empowered customer with a massive drive toward data driven marketing.

But there are millions of marketers who might not be competitive in this environment due to a lack of empirical knowledge or statistical wherewithal. Munsell participated in a compelling interview with Loyalty 360 CEO Mark Johnson to discuss many of these issues.

Challenges Greater Than Ever

Munsell: We recognize the trends and our role is to chart that path of understanding. It’s really about understanding their authentic brand and what they can accomplish by leveraging analytics and data to best provide that daily service. Marketing goals are simple still and revolve around growing your business with this data and increasing loyalty with existing customers and understanding who your most valuable customers are. Marketing goals are simple. Today’s customers are not.

Everybody Is an Influencer

Munsell: Advocacy is key because everybody is an influencer and there’s a growing tribe. Customers want brands to have them as integral parts of their lives. CMOs and leading loyalty marketers have always been data driven and right now they have the opportunity to obtain much more evidence of what customers’ needs and wants are and to become more agile with continued learning.

IBM Research: Top 20% Significantly Outperforming Peers

Munsell: We’re identifying what this 20% is doing and how they’re making the shift. The gap is widening. The trend of Big Data, leveraging analytics and insights, and social media is creating this gap. What we’re seeing from the top 20% is they’re expanding their influencers and collaborating across the organization. They’re breaking down channels – in-store and digital and linking the customer experience. One of the ways they do that is being the voice of the customer by leveraging data and analytics to provide a common language across all those channels.

Importance of Being Authentic

Munsell: We’re really at an inflection point. We can collect all this data and run all these models. From a customer sentiment perspective, it’s quite different than years ago. People have reached a level of skepticism about marketing. Everything has been opened up, particularly through social media. We’ve undergone this fundamental mindshift. So there is a real importance of authenticity. Your external marketing goals have to include that 360-degree approach with every touchpoint of the customer. Brand experience and brand messaging can’t just be a marketing message. There has to be a commitment internally and also from the customers.

Appetite for Social Media 

Munsell: Increasingly, our clients are seeing social as having multiple roles – a pr and awareness piece, a service and problem resolution, and also from a product development standpoint. More markets say social activity drives demand. We have the ability to do attribution across marketing channels and understand how that drives revenue. We can see what combination of activities led to that increased basket size.

Continuous Engagement Cycle

Munsell: For loyalty marketing, it’s really going from program to campaign mentality to an operations standpoint and always being on a continuous engagement cycle, continually adapting to what customers want and are responding to. Loyalty is relationship-geared.

Understanding Customer Journey

Munsell: From a technology standpoint, it’s all about analytics and having an analytics platform to be able to take data from across organizations and in some cases that has to be real time. Other times combining all of the data leads to a longitudinal understanding of the customer.

It’s about understanding the customer journey across organizations, and what are the moments of truth, and where to prioritize and focus data and analytics.

About the Author: Mark Johnson

Mark is CEO & CMO of Loyalty 360. He has significant experience in selling, designing, and administering prepaid, loyalty/CRM programs, as well as data-driven marketing communication programs.

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