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Everything a CMO Must Know About the Digital Marketing Landscape

We’ve all been to trade shows and industry events where an individual does a tool presentation, and more often than not, I’ve found them to be focused on tips and tricks as to using tools. When we then go back and implement what was shown, most of us almost think  ‘that was interesting but how does it fit into my day to day and help my business?’. More crucially though, we ask what should report back to our CMO? How can we best point them in the right direction to succeed in the complex digital ecosystem?

Our job is to inspire, encourage and motivate them to lead brands and their clients by understanding the Zeitgeist  and Momentum we are living in. You’re probably thinking to yourself ‘easier said than done’, right? Especially with all the changes made to algorithms and how organisations and people are now working.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Change

Why don’t we all take a step back to look at what the digital marketing landscape consists of.  This is so that we can truly understand one of this century’s fastest evolving and most inspiring business disciplines.  We need to perceive innovation as our most valuable competitive advantage rather than being afraid of change.

CMOs now need to make the concision decision to address the following items when implementing their marketing strategies:

  • show the connection between the great many different data points and the sum of efforts to collect and analyse them that lead to the singularity either as the ‘primary’ or ‘bi-product’ of their efforts.
  • disconnect tools alone that are across a great many divisions cannot win the day.
  • that organisations are both enterprise and SMB in scale need of an integrated data platform.

To prove this I will use Gartner’s Digital Marketing Transit Map to show how CMOs need to unite disconnect marketing divisions and skill sets into a unified digital marketing hub. Emphasizing a brand’s consumers ‘theoretical user journey’ across multiple marketing channels, how many ‘story arcs’ are needed to reach their users personas is a prerequisite in today’s digital era.

Any company’s goal should be to give their customers the best path to the future. Having said that though, this road is harder for small businesses to navigate since most don’t have IT experts on staff to guide them. IT experts often express the same frustration as small business owners, and at the end of the day everybody wants solutions. Small business owners are getting smarter. They know more about technology and are looking for scalable solutions. One of these solutions is cloud computing. The power and sophistication of SaaS business applications found in the cloud are hugely compelling for SMBs, and up until now, something they have had to do without. The cloud helps small businesses to afford solutions that were previously too expensive, and run as efficiently as larger companies.

Big And Small Business Technology

Going back to the use of marketing technologies, enterprise-level companies and small businesses have a lot more in common than you might think. According to Marketing Land the adoption levels of social media management software, PPC, and even marketing automation technologies amongst enterprises and SMBs was similar.

Enterprise Chart


SMB Chart

The only area where enterprise level businesses are well ahead of smaller companies is the use of social media infrastructure tools and services.  These tools integrate social media functionality into a website or mobile application to create personalised user experiences as well as providing valuable customer insights.

Social Media and Security – Shared Stress Points

Social media is a perfect example of the change in the role of technology at companies large and small. Marketing departments lobby for broad adoption of social media, but that often scares IT with fears of additional bandwidth usage and vulnerability to cyber-attacks and viruses.

?According to ?Dell, 50 percent of its bandwidth is consumed by employees using social media. The main issue here is that many businesses yet need to allow their employees to participate in social media. According to research more than half of the world’s workers are not allowed to participate in social media – on the job at least. In an ideal world the two sides join forces, understanding both the importance of social media to their marketing efforts, and the need to keep businesses safe.

Social media is transforming the way business is carried out. According to a recent study by the Internet Advertising Bureau, they found that nearly 80% of consumers would be inclined to buy more often in the future because of a brand’s presence on social media channels. For small businesses, knowing how to capitalise on this is crucial. If small businesses have not got the right presence on social media they will miss out because today’s customers are expecting to find brands and businesses on this platform.

What small business owners have to focus on is:

  • ?think about who your customers are
  • think about everything you know about your customers such as:
  • where they live
  • what their lifestyles are
  • what their interests are – business wide and outside of business

Once you’ve established your social media infrastructure and strategy, it is important to start thinking about the most crucial point – how is this going to translate into sales and development for your business?

  • Will it drive traffic to your website?
  • Get a ‘sold-out’ event?
  • Or drive footfall into stores?

?The art of getting social media to grow your business is to translate its activity and momentum into tangible results.

The Digital Marketing Transit Map by Gartner

To help your CMO to understand how large organisations work Gartner’s Digital Marketing Transit Map covers a wide, complex territory. To plans and manage technology effectively, digital marketers need to understand the inherent relationships between diverse operational areas, applications, technologies and vendors. This graph is one of the best examples showing the relationships among business functions, application services, and solution providers. Use it to create a digital marketing solution strategy, improve operations and plan initiatives.
Gartner's Digital Marketing Transit Map


Any digital strategy needs to foremost focus on your consumers and their various online personas, how else will you be able to push them successfully through the purchase funnel and its numerous ‘story arcs’? To truly resonate with your target audience you have to optimize their user journey and online experience. How else will CMOs be able to capture their attention especially if the average shopper now uses 10.7 online sources of information before even making a purchase (ZMOT)?

The challenge, no matter how big your company is or whether you’re worried about bandwidth, competitiveness, security, or other factors, is to find a way to take advantage of technology while mitigating the risks. Embracing technology is essential to remaining competitive in today’s challenging global economy — and that’s only the beginning. Technology has the power to enable human potential. It’s what ignites the possibilities that will change the world. And who better to change the world than small business owners?



Clarissa is a bilingual Strategic Marketing MA graduate with rounded experience in a number of key marketing disciplines including social media, project management, research and business development. Clarissa is Marketing Graduate at Linkdex.