The CMO-level audit for 2017: Preview

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At 3Q Digital, my employer, we regularly perform audits for clients and prospects, putting accounts and channels under a microscope to make recommendations on things to fix and ways to scale and improve performance. Those audits are some of the most valuable work we do, and the findings are gobbled up by our clients’ account directors and managers.

In that vein, I’m kicking off a series of posts dedicated to CMO-level audits: the areas of digital marketing that transcend account performance and need to be in focus in every boardroom meeting to set the stage for real, sustainable company growth.

In today’s post, I’ll quickly break down the topics we’ll examine at length over the coming months. They are: customer journey, technology, growth channels, user experience, devices and analytics. Let me set the table by explaining why each is so vital and why you need to pay special attention in the year to come. Note: since the industry is always changing, I reserve the right to add emerging topics.

Customer journey

Why it matters

Customer journey is the sum of experiences that customers undergo when interacting with your company. It encapsulates the full set of occurrences from pre-awareness through the post-purchase relationship.

Frequent challenges

Many, many companies have an incomplete understanding of who the customers are and how they discover and engage. Simply, companies aren’t sure how and where their customers are finding them or what kind of messaging (and when and where it’s delivered) moves the customer closer to purchase.


Why it matters

Companies of just about every size eventually hit roadblocks on their mission to scale that can potentially be hurdled with the right technology. Solutions like DMPs (data management platforms), mobile tracking, tag management and product feed management can be instrumental to unlocking growth — or can be misunderstood, mismanaged and cost-ineffective if not properly implemented.

The martech landscape has absolutely exploded over the past couple of years, and it’s the rare company that knows all the options, let alone recognizes a good fit over a bad investment.

Frequent challenges

Technology platforms are often underutilized or not in sync with marketing objectives.

Growth channels

Why it matters

Five years ago, Facebook ads were a dud, SEM and display were the name of the game, and YouTube was just about the only player on the video scene.

Today, channels for discovering, growing and retaining a customer base are abounding, with more emerging every quarter. Each company has a different mix of optimal channels, and those can change rapidly as new channels emerge (think Snapchat, Pinterest and others).

Frequent challenges

Even companies that stay on top of emergent channels don’t always use the channels to engage their customers at the right time with the right message. And very few marketers have the full picture of how users engage across channels or how much to value the interactions.

UX (User Experience)

Why it matters

UX refers to the customer’s every experience — digital or otherwise — with a brand’s image, product or service. Every touch point is a chance to move the user down the funnel — or to see them drop out.

Frequent challenges

UX is much more than a website, but companies must grasp how the experience they offer spans channels and devices — and the end product or service. Expectations must be clearly established and met at every point.


Why it matters

Many companies have struggled to translate the desktop experience to smaller devices (mobile, tablet, hybrid) because they haven’t fully incorporated an understanding of different customer behavior across platforms. Understanding this, and synchronizing experiences and offers across devices, can unlock potential in cross-device conversion flow.

Frequent challenges

We’ve encountered far too many companies that believe the “mobile experience” is reflected in responsive design that simply resizes the desktop experience to fit smaller screens. The optimal approached is far more nuanced and requires data and analytics to understand customer behavior and intent across devices.


Why it matters

Data is only as good as the analysis behind it. Quality analytics can digest the reams of available data in today’s marketplace to identify and solve gaps in the funnel, predict and optimize for the customer journey for different audiences, and arm marketers with knowledge that helps smarter investment and targeting.

Frequent challenges

Most companies today are collecting data, but few are collecting all the data available to them — and fewer still are efficient at digesting it and putting it to optimal use, which leaves untapped growth opportunities throughout the funnel.

As we tackle each of these issues in subsequent posts, we’ll outline a series of questions that will help you understand how well you’re doing and the gaps you need to start filling in. For now, your “homework” will be to think of each of the topics outlined above and consider how much weight you’re planning to give them in the months to come.

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Scott Rayden is the Chief Revenue Officer for 3Q Digital, a Harte Hanks company, and is responsible for leading marketing, sales, and the overall revenue growth of 3Q Digital nationwide. Scott spent the past 7.5 years as the Founder and President of iSearch Media, a leading digital marketing agency focused on consumer behavior, search marketing, analytics, and data visualization. iSearch Media was acquired by 3Q Digital in 2014. Scott brings 14 years of experience in digital marketing, management, M&A, and business development to 3Q Digital. Prior to founding iSearch Media in 2006, Scott worked at Quinstreet and LeadClick Media (acquired by First Advantage for $150MM), two of the largest digital marketing agencies in the country


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