Data and its accompanying insights are having a profound impact on the value and efficacy of both marketing and corporate communications at the C-Suite level in organizations today.
The real benefit is that analytics provide a roadmap for more precise communications – i.e., moving from a Coverage model to an Influence model identifying influence, including media as part of a larger ecosystem, connecting engagement with purchase behavior. Or, moving internal communications from a Broadcast model to a Conversation model, one in which employees can actually make the argument themselves about business challenges and change through a more engaged environment, based on dialogue, discussion and debate. Or, predicting new areas to pursue or issues to avoid.
Digging deeper, the real impact is how analytics is reshaping the relationship between the CEO and the Chief Communications and Marketing Officer (CCMO). No longer considered running a function, CCMOs are now pivoting to become more of a systems integrator. That is, they are expected to turn information into new thinking to better enable behaviors that both prepare and sustain leaders, managers, employees, customers and the marketplace for what’s next.
The following reflects how we at W2O Group are learning and leading the transformation of today’s CCMO.
Essentially, we are experiencing seven distinct areas where CCMOs are incorporating data and insights to forge new, strategic relationships with CEOs. In doing so, they are challenging historical norms, eliminating useless tactical interpretations of effectiveness, and employing unique analytical models to clearly see the organization.
“How can I find the next generation of customers?” is a common question we hear from CEOs.
New models designed to identify where potential customers are migrating and how they are behaving can better pinpoint communications and marketing expenditures, helping to cultivate relationships and dimensionalize brands, products and services.
The key is to target analytics models across channels and networks of influence, encompassing the consumer’s decision journey. Finding, understanding, engaging, and sharing with customers and influencers online, helps uncover nuances, behaviors, interests, and bias concerning brands, companies, products, services and policies. Recognizing the power of advocacy in purchase behavior and where it has the most influence not only better targets programming but more importantly, helps capture the next generation of potential customers before they even recognize the need or want.
2. Productivity and Engagement
“How can I ensure my employees’ get it?”
Further, deploying your workforce as your most potent sales force through a programmed Advocacy effort is a true differentiator in a crowded, distracted marketplace.
However, to engage employees today requires a granular understanding of how people are finding, assimilating and sharing information about the business. Analytics provide a forensic study of employee traits in this regard. Employee View is proprietary analytics tool that captures workforce archetypes, in order to better engage employees in the business.
One CCMO from a global enterprise is meeting monthly with his CEO and reviewing a report on employee behaviors related to the company’s key imperatives. The report identifies employee retention of important information, sentiment of executive messaging as well as tone, cadence, and context.
“Are we relevant today?”
In our social/digital world, Relevance is the new Reputation.
But how can an organization measure Relevance? In multiple ways actually.
Every industry possesses its own criteria for comprehending relevance and as such we have designed analytics models to discern what’s important and where a brand or company is viewed on that continuum. Relevance means organizations are connecting on multiple levels with key stakeholders in areas that are meaningful to them, but also correlate to the business’ core purpose.
4. White Space
CEOs, as we know, are often measured by current results and future prospects.
Our Landscape Analysis/Conversation Blueprint uncovers the anatomy inherent in predictive behavior in a particular category and regarding a specific product or brand. Knowing where the game is going to be played positions CCMOs as partners in strategy formulation. White space may result in a brand extension, new product launch schematic, a messaging platform that clarifies a product benefit, a migration of interests, etc. Discovering such a place keeps the business agile and leaders awake to the possibilities.
5. Strategy Alignment
“How can we get people to hear us again?” Strategy and priority overload afflict every company. Breaking through is critical if companies are to succeed in a distracted, highly volatile market. But how?
The Narrative: More often than not, C-Suite leaders are not seeing the business in a clear, coherent manner. Such a misaligned picture at the top of an organization causes incredible dysfunction at the middle and lower levels resulting in poor decisions and, even worse, paralysis.
Analytics and the insights derived from the right data can lead to an accurate portrayal or narrative on the business from an outside in, and an inside out, perspective. The narrative aligns messaging and conditions behavior to accurately reflect the business’ current state so as to better navigate the right path.
Refreshing that perspective regularly drives the CEO’s agenda in a more disciplined and pragmatic fashion.
6. Efficiency (The PESO Model)
“Why are we spending our money in all the wrong places?”
In today’s communications and marketing mix, Paid, Owned, Shared, and Earned Media must work in concert with the customer journey. Earned media consists of media relations, influencer marketing and advocacy. Owned media is viewed as any type of media for which you have complete control. In contrast, Shared media consists of content relationships, in which control is shared with your audience. Paid media is an accelerator of earned, shared and owned media that deserves larger reach, and as a way to test the market in low-cost ways. Organizing, strategizing, and operating in a cohesive fashion across all communications and marketing platforms optimizes investment. Orchestrating PESO via analytics achieves precision in both effectiveness and efficiency. The fuel for this journey is analytics and insights.
7. Risk Mitigation
“Are we able to handle a potential crisis situation?”
Nothing keeps a CEO up at night more than a business crisis. Avoiding and/or deftly managing a situation that can potentially damage an organization’s ability to operate is essential to a CEOs fiduciary responsibility if not her tenure.
Inception™ is a proprietary software and analytics platform designed to simulate issues and their trajectory toward crisis in an environment where the organization can learn, test its collective agility, judgement, collaboration, and response in a social/digital reality. The result is a more confident, integrated and progressive issues management protocol that maintains relevance and protects reputation.
A New Relationship Emerges
For today’s progressive communications and marketing leaders, analytics and insights are forging a pathway to greater influence and impact on strategy and direction. This is leading to more sophisticated discussions on business outcomes versus tactical outputs.
For Chief Communications and Marketing Officers, the time is now to fundamentally reshape the relationship with your CEO and other C-Suite leaders through a more data-oriented, disciplined approach to both the marketplace and the workplace, systematically forging insights that lead to new choices and strategies designed to achieve organizational excellence.
Gone are the traditional outputs, structures, and anecdotal rationales that underpinned the function, but are now obsolete.
So, as a CCMO what are you talking to your CEO about?
Gary F. Grates is a principal at W2O Group and a Trustee for the Institute for Public Relations. Follow him @GaryGrates.