Last summer - in 2021 - Tokyo played host to the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It's a sign of the times in which we've been living. Since then, a new normal has set in - and the world has embraced virtual digital experiences across every aspect of the life.
The world of retail is another case in point. Pre-pandemic, we were seeing significant growth in e-commerce sales: in 2019, they grew 20.2% year-on-year to reach $3.35 trillion. But in 2020, under lockdown, that growth accelerated breathtakingly - by 27.6%, to $4.28 trillion.
The parallel between the two struck me recently. The traditional motto of the Olympic Games is "citius, altius, forties" - "faster, higher, stronger." Retail organizations in general, and their chief marketing officers (CMOs) in particular, are experiencing broader, more sustained, and more rapid growth than ever before - and the same is true of CMOs' roles.
Their function is expanding beyond brand-building and scheduled promotions to include a wide range of other activities, including data analysis, mar-tech deployment, business strategy, business growth, supply chain integration for fulfilment, and customer experience. Faster, higher, stronger demands, indeed.
A strategic partner to driving business growth
It's a trend that's corroborated by a recent report from the Capgemini Research Institute (CRI). "A New Playbook for Chief Marketing Officers" tells us that over half (57%) of marketers agree that their C-suite executives now see marketing not as a cost center, but as a strategic partner in driving business growth.
Given the increasing breadth of their responsibilities, you might think that CMOs are seeking greater support from external marketing specialists. That's not completely the case. While the CRI report does show that most marketers are saying their teams work in partnership with agencies for activities such as branding and marketing strategy and digital marketing, it also reveals that in the next two to three years, 43% of them plan to bring this work in-house.
In short, marketing has become central to the success of the enterprise - and, given the growing importance of e-commerce and the need for marketers to understand how customers interact with brands and companies (and to know when and where to engage with them), it increasingly needs to respond in real time.
Real-time, data-driven marketing
Real-time marketing enables marketers to collect relevant customer data, make quick decisions along the customer journey, be more proactive in engaging customers, support customized content, and enhance the e-commerce experience. It depends not just on gathering data, but on interpreting it and acting upon it quickly. Data-driven marketers process, analyze, and leverage data to fine-tune their campaigns, their content, and their other marketing outputs. By taking a data-driven approach, they also gain deeper understanding of consumers and trends, and target customers with personalized and relevant offers and services.
Analysis in the CRI report shows that fewer than half of marketers can turn their data to good advantage. More of them would like to be able to develop data-driven go-to-market strategies.
Opportunity for progress
There is an opportunity here to make real progress. To take it, CMOs need access to a data platform that provides a unified view of the customer. They also need AI tools and skills to automate their customer segmentation and grouping. The best way they can do all this is to bring together the people and the processes in their organizations, removing obstacles, and creating what we at Capgemini call the Frictionless Enterprise.
Capgemini's own Connected Marketing Operations offer provides one such solution. It acts as a central hub, and aggregates knowledge, so organizations can see both the bigger and the smaller picture; so they can extend their channel reach, and increase the effectiveness of campaigns; and so they can improve their operational efficiency at the same time.
Integrated - and smart
Just before the Tokyo Olympics last July, the International Olympic Committee added a word to that famous motto. Translated from Latin, it now reads: "Faster, higher, stronger - together." In today's fast-paced, rapidly growing marketing environment, that sense of togetherness is just as important. When everything comes together in a single enterprise, with a common platform sharing data that can be interpreted and actioned in real-time - that's when the magic can happen.
In the second article in this short series, we'll be looking more closely at what data-driven marketing looks like, and what it can achieve.
To learn more about how Capgemini's Connected Marketing Operationsunlocks enhanced brand value and revenue impact through frictionless, digitally-augmented marketing operations, contact: email@example.com
Read the full CRI "A New Playbook for Chief Marketing Officers" report to learn why CMOs should enable real-time marketing to drive sustainable growth.
Abha Singh drives large transformation and consultative sales, presales, and marketing projects for Capgemini's clients, bringing innovation into the core of every area of her work.
 eMarketer, "Worldwide ecommerce will approach $5 trillion this year," January 2021: quoted in "A New Playbook for Chief Marketing Officers," published by the Capgemini Research Institute