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The Capgemini Research Institute – an in-house think tank working closely with academic and technology partners – has launched its latest report, providing a playbook for chief marketers on how to thrive in today’s rapidly-changing environment.

Surveying over 1,600 marketing professionals and interviewing 25 chief marketers across a range of brands including IBM, Boots and Morgan Stanley, the report concludes that only 12% of marketers are taking advantage of data made available through digital and e-commerce acceleration.

Although all marketers are using data in some way, most are not applying it to drive marketing decisions. For instance, only 43% of marketers say their teams use data to decide a go-to-market strategy for a new product or service, and only 40% use data to modify their campaign strategies. Similarly, only 42% say that, by harnessing data, their team has been able to be more agile in responding to customer and market needs.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated digitization in a way no one could have predicted,” says Jean-Pierre Villaret, head of Frog Europe. “However, only a small section of marketers are achieving the full potential of data-driven, real-time marketing and realizing the benefits it brings. The task now – for the vast majority of marketers – is to modernize their data capabilities and up-and-reskill their workforces in order to stay competitive against these data-driven high flyers.”

The chief marketer shifts focus

For traditional marketers who do not qualify as data-driven, catching up with high-performing rivals is necessitating a fundamental shift in roles, skills and capabilities. The playbook has identified that this change is occurring first and foremost at the top of the marketing ladder, characterized by a shift toward greater control and decision-making among chief marketers.

Along with a responsibility for data and technology, around a third of chief marketers are directly responsible for gathering and understanding consumer and market intelligence, trends, and for overseeing marketing technologies such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools or marketing-automation platforms.

Meanwhile, 60% say they are involved in critical decisions related to growth and long-term value, such as growth strategy and new product development.

Transforming skills and capabilities

Despite the changes in chief marketers’ duties and skills, the same is not sufficiently reflected in the marketing function more broadly. To enable data-driven marketing, chief marketers will need to address a broader tech capability and skills deficit. Less than half of marketers say they have established the data and technology capabilities needed to deliver data-driven marketing.

In order to close these skills gaps, marketing departments will seek to bring more work in-house. Overall, half of marketers agree that their organizations are trying to build internal skills and capabilities over partnering with outside vendors.

“The modern chief marketer needs to be three things simultaneously: an artist, a scientist and a champion,” says Peter Markey, UK chief marketing officer at Boots. “For the artist, it is being a creative thinker. Being a scientist and knowing the numbers that drive the business. The champion role often gets forgotten. This is about being a champion for your function; to tell the narrative of what your function is there to do.”

The playbook highlights six critical focus areas chief marketers need to prioritize in order to win in the data-driven environment and stay competitive.

  1. Create a clear vision for the marketing strategy

  2. Implement a framework-driven data collection process

  3. Ensure talent is equipped with a baseline of data and creative skills while allowing for specialists

  4. Accelerate collaboration across the marketing ecosystem

  5. Re-imagine the customer journey with real-time engagement

  6. Integrate long-term brand building and short-term marketing engagements

If you are interested in seeing how Capgemini can help create a competitive data-driven strategy, get in touch.