Ways Data And Martech Can Help Communications Leaders

February 17, 2017 Dave Hawley

Today’s martech and data explosion holds the key for chief communications officers to gain the data-driven insights, projections and authority that their C-suite counterparts already enjoy.

recent survey from APCO Worldwide reveals that CCOs are an underrepresented voice in business strategy — a factor they consider to be one of their biggest challenges.

Other marketing executives have long had access to data and martech tools that help them do their jobs better. Gartner projects that CMOs will spend more on technology than CIOs by next year. These days marketers are increasingly as quantitative as they are creative.

In 2017, we’ll see CCOs begin to become much more like their marketing counterparts. Just as marketers have taken risks by adopting new technologies, such as automation and A/B testing, communications leaders will begin to make strides to do the same. By investing in technologies that give communications teams more access to data they’ll be in a better position to partner with CEOs and make a more substantial impact on business-critical decisions.

Early indicators, such as social media, show how communications leaders can use data to increase their influence over business decisions. Social media has helped communications teams see firsthand how they can use technology to track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as brand awareness, share of voice and audience sentiment and also use data to increase their influence internally. APCO’s survey shows that 89% of communications leaders have access to the CEO and 62 percent credit their increase in significance to the rise of social media.

Thanks to social media, communications teams have been able to set KPIs to quantify their contribution to the organization, a strategy that Tina-Marie Adams, managing director at APCO Chicago, says is effective.

“Our clients who have been serving in a company’s senior-most comms position have pursued a seat at the table by relating to the business goals and setting [KPIs],” says Adams. However, social media KPIs alone won’t help communications leaders expand their influence with the CEO. APCO’s survey shows that 79% of respondents report that the CEO views them as important. But only 26% believe their opinions matter when the company makes “business-critical decisions.”

Perception gulf

Survey results, like we see in APCO’s study, may seem unexpected to communications leaders who know that their efforts to increase brand awareness, for example, are crucial to helping the organization meet their business goals — even though quantifying the exact impact has long been a challenge. However, to be heard, CCOs need to be able to show, rather than tell, their CXO colleagues how they’re impacting business goals. CMOs, CIOs, CTOs and CFOs all have access to data to back their claims and inform their strategy.

Marketing leaders have only recently used technology and data to earn credibility and influence within organizations. With digital customer data, they can show the direct impact of their campaigns and programs. According to recent research from Heidrick & Struggles, in partnership with Forrester, CMOs have evolved their roles within the organization by taking on the challenges of data and business technology realignment. Because of this, 31% of CMOs with CX responsibilities also own business strategy development today.

The result of all this technology advancement and adoption is that next year we’ll see the rise of the data-driven CCO. As communications teams adopt technologies that let them take risks, track KPIs, and analyze data, we’ll see more organizations benefit- giving CCOs more input into decisions critical for the business.

This article originates on chiefmarketer.com

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