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Marketing voices: Transformation in the trenches

How are marketing leaders putting priorities into action?

Global marketing leaders cite changes to data requirements, evolving talent needs, and new customer experience expectations as part of the push into a new era of more personalized relationships.

Conversations with senior marketing leaders

Deloitte’s 2022 Global Marketing Trends report explores how marketers are prioritizing first-party data, inclusive campaigns, and purpose-driven strategies to redefine the customer experience. But what’s it really like behind the scenes for marketers putting these priorities into action—and ensuring they succeed? Our conversations with senior marketing leaders at nine global organizations offer a rare look at the opportunities—as well as the struggles—CMOs and their C-suite counterparts face while helping their companies create more holistic, personal experiences for consumers.


Honing data integration

Data drives differentiation when it comes to informing, guiding, and telling stories about customers, and one of the most powerful assets for marketers is having accurate first-party data on their customers in a single unified view. It helps organizations communicate across departments and platforms, ultimately transforming information into actionable insights. But collecting such data also carries great responsibility: In one of this year’s trends, “Designing a human-first data experience,” we found for those organizations that demonstrate transparency and humanity, customers are 2.5 times more likely to share personal information that helps improve the product.

With that context in mind, we asked how marketing teams are collating the various information funnels and juggling the concurrent needs for personalization, privacy, and usefulness? Plus, how are leaders assessing and addressing their organizations’ technology gaps?

Turning data into insights

Leveraging data requires prioritizing data access, breaking down organizational silos, and ensuring teams understand the data—before moving to integrated solutions.

Maria Raad, Vice President, Commercial Excellence, Customer and Digital Strategy, EMEA, The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson:

"Everybody talks about customer data platforms (CDPs), but what’s really critical is the data. Do you have access to the data before you get the CDP in place? If not, you’re probably only using 10% of your Rolls-Royce. With that in place, then you can really define what you need from a CDP—a foundation of best-in-class analytical capabilities. You can collect data and optimize the experience in a system that’s automated, real-time, and compliant—meeting all the privacy rules."

Guy Flament, Global CEO, Yves Rocher:

"Finding the right balance between giving the team autonomy to capture the new way of doing business balanced with the required investments to reach critical scale is probably one of the most difficult tasks in my job. The speed of change and speed of innovation requires us to select state-of-the-art integrated solutions to be able to handle this complexity in areas such as CRM or data. We’re changing the way we’re working to have the ability to handle this accelerating pace of innovation."

Laurie Kowalevsky, Vice President, Global Marketing, Lilly Biomedicines:

"One of the biggest challenges that makes me worry is competency around the infusion of data analytics and insights. I’m surprised at the number of times where marketers don’t fully understand the data surrounding their business and their customers. People have gotten used to a variety of dashboards and reports from market research, but they’re not really proficient at connecting the dots—understanding what they need to know, when they need to know it, and why it matters."

Crafting content that converts

Marketers highlight the importance of marrying analytics and human stress tests to make sure their content reaches the right audiences.

Nic Emery, Chief Customer & Digital Officer, Crown Resorts:

"We push out many hundreds of individual promotions to customers over the course of the year. We’ve been chipping away at using econometrics to increase our total marketing return on investment from those promotions. We’ve also stood up a program of personalized offers, and we get about a threefold return on investment. It comes back to the principle of how personalized you need to be in order to make money through meeting somebody’s needs. In our experience, you don’t need to get anywhere near creepy to do that."

Carol Carpenter, former Chief Marketing Officer, VMware:

"You could send a hundred emails a day to every single prospect and customer. Go find your most curmudgeonly engineer, show them something you’re about to send and ask, ‘Would you read this? Would you click on it? Do you find this compelling?’ Having IT as a development and thought partner early on is critical. Make sure that the work you’re doing is going to manifest in something useful and usable."

Respecting data privacy

Customers appreciate increased personalization, but they’re also demanding more transparency into how their data is being used and how that benefits them.

Malorie Maddox, Chief Marketing, Communications and Strategy Officer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska:

"Data and innovation must be at the forefront of everything we do. Predictive analytics helps us help our customers spot health challenges and warning signs. People are used to interacting with their doctor on their phones now. So, from a telehealth perspective, how do we evolve that even more? What’s our role in helping our members navigate their explanation of benefits (EOBs), find an in-network provider, pay the lowest cost for the drug they need? Our consumers are asking for more price transparency both for services and for pharmaceuticals. We want to provide greater transparency, but we also have to balance that with protecting sensitive information. We need to show consumers that we’re utilizing data in a respectful way."


Finding the right talent

Hiring managers are as likely today to ask prospective marketers if they can demonstrate expertise in data modeling and statistics as they are to review their creative talents. In the “Building the intelligent creative engine” trend in this year’s report, CMOs cited analytical expertise as one of the top skills of their highest performers—ahead of creative abilities—in every sector except the consumer industry.

As demand for practitioners with data science skills continues to surge, how are marketing leaders using these new skills to meet the emerging demands of the marketplace? How are they incorporating new ways of learning? And how are they leveraging agency relationships to meet these challenges?

Redefining the role

The pandemic has shifted how marketers consider their overall roles and how marketing leaders enlist new talent, and has expanded the list of skills organizations seek—with an emphasis on being proficient in several areas around digital and data.

Laura Curtis Ferrera, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Scotiabank:

"I think this is going to be the year that we see a broad shake-up among marketers in terms of where they work, what they expect from their workplace, what they prioritize in terms of what’s important to them from their careers. The ground has been primed for a seismic turnover in terms of our marketing workforce. Marketers are so in demand right now, both on the specialist and the generalist sides. I think we as CMOs need to turn on our head the amount of time we spend on redefining what’s important to our own teams and what we are going to do to make them successful."

Helena Andreas, SVP Communications & People, Securitas AB:

"From a marketing perspective, the main objective for us is how to reposition ourselves in a traditional B2B industry. We recruit almost 100,000 people each year, so we do not only want to market ourselves to our clients, but we also want to market ourselves to the wider population. It’s where employer branding meets marketing."

The balancing act: Insourcing vs. outsourcing

To meet the expanded role of marketing within the digital journey, CMOs have had to rethink which functions they can sustain internally and when they need to look for outside talent.

Curtis Ferrera, Scotiabank:

"Our assumptions going into insourcing and outsourcing were largely thematically correct, but then quantifiably wrong. I thought there was going to be a slower ramp-up period when we opened Lighthouse, our in-house creative agency, but it was full tilt from day one. The sheer demand for all forms of creative production has exploded. We increased output by 54% from March 2020 to January 2021 in response to the increase in personalized customer communications. The other surprise for me was that the type of talent we are hiring has changed to include more of an emphasis on 2D and 3D motion design, illustration, and motion production."

Carpenter, VMware:

"Traditionally, we looked at what’s strategic—not outsourcing strategy, but outsourcing the arms and legs for scale. If you need more bodies on a specific project, or need help amplifying a social campaign, you hire a social agency to help you amplify. The rise of digital in the pandemic has accelerated this. There’s too much real-time feedback happening in those channels, and while yes, you could say, ‘OK, we are going to have a social strategy’—these key themes you set out at the beginning of the year—then times change, and things happen."

Raad, Johnson & Johnson:

"What we want to ensure is self-sufficiency. What we also cannot do is grow the organization indefinitely. What we are looking at is some of the skills that will give us flexibility in how we work today. For example, everything from creative roles like graphic designers that you could put internally that will allow for agility. I would personally think for a hybrid model, rather than saying we insource everything or outsource everything."


Enriching the customer experience

These days, consumer journeys comprise a broad array of online, offline, and hybrid options—each having its own advantages and degrees of friction. According to the 11,500 global consumers Deloitte surveyed to better understand what information they found most helpful while making purchase decisions, what unites these options into a cohesive journey is a focus on timely offers and knowledgeable customer service.

From AI-developed insights to exploring interactions across multiple channels, marketers have more ways than ever to enrich their customers’ experience. What are the benefits they’re seeing, and what are the hurdles?

Accounting for multiple touchpoints

Engaging with customers in a variety of interfaces creates opportunities for a richer customer experience, but it creates challenges, too—namely privacy concerns as well as ensuring data from different touchpoints gets integrated for better customer insights.

Naho Kono, Group Managing Executive Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, Rakuten Group Inc.:

"We are working on seamless use of data online and offline in our various marketing campaigns. For example, we offer a campaign in which more points are given for the second purchase when that purchase is made offline. By doing this we will conduct online/offline marketing and understand the difference between online/offline needs. For example, cosmetic samples are often obtained offline, and the goods are purchased online. So, information can be shared to provide new insights."

Maddox, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska:

"We recognize that customers are seeking more digital solutions. So, how do we partner with providers to make it easier on customers throughout their entire health care journey? Back in the day, you had only a couple of tangible touchpoints with your insurance company; usually your ID card and EOBs. Now we have member portals and apps—very different ways to engage with our customer base. But we also have a higher expectation of privacy. We need to ask ourselves, ’Are we being intentional with this information?’ ’How do we maintain customer trust?’ ’How do we utilize information to help our customers navigate the system?’ We need to be mindful of these issues as we continue to partner and share information with providers in new ways."

Kowalevsky, Lilly Biomedicine:

"We’re thinking how we can use technology to enhance the experiences and the solutions that people need to lead healthy lives. And there’s so much opportunity there, whether it’s digital therapeutics, or helping someone with passive tracking so they can really understand their progress, or the utilization of it in clinical trials so we can get more diverse patient populations in our trials, representing all of the people who need help and not just those who could benefit. The barrier to what’s possible would be that our platforms are siloed and not integrated. So, we can implement some programs on these platforms, some on other platforms, and we’re leaving insight and data and opportunity on the table because we don’t have the mechanisms to pull those things together."

The human connection, improved

CMOs realize that AI is not a stand-alone solution, but one that enriches the human factor at the center of their solutions. Only then can brands expand the reach of AI and tech and what’s possible to better serve their customers.

Flament, Yves Rocher:

"We put human bonds at the center of everything we do. But for several years we have been testing different ways of improving our customization algorithms. We look at the way our most loyal customers have behaved and have defined automated propositions for forecasting for product supply, as the time to market is shorter. Using AI, we can see how new categories of products might behave, saving us time and money."

Carpenter, VMware:

"Firstly, we’ve implemented AI into our automation around cloud management and infrastructure management. Customers who are using the products are getting recommendations on how to update their settings. The second way that we’re applying AI is in our customer success team and work and propensity models to understand which solutions they’re using, which ones might they use, but also where do we think they are in terms of cloud maturity and where could we offer them services to help them with their transformation? Lastly, we’re also applying AI to be smarter when customers call in. It’s meant to supplement our technical advisors or customer success folks, not to replace them."

Maddox, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska:

"In the first few months of the pandemic, we saw a 14,000% increase in telehealth calls, and 78% of those were for mental health. Telehealth has provided more comfort for people to make a connection with their doctors, to open up and share what’s on their mind, and reach out for help. We have a real opportunity to change the game when it comes to access to mental health services and making a very complex system easier to navigate."

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