Recap: CMAinsights – the science of data and the art of marketing, Part 2

By Linda Forrest of CMA's Digital Marketing Council

On Thursday, March 23, the Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) presented its first morning event of the 2017-2018 season: CMAinsights. Held at the Toronto Region Board of Trade, a full house of marketers – more marketers than you’d expect to see at 8 in the morning – gathered to hear speakers share insights about the challenge faced by today’s modern marketers: striking a careful balance between the science of data and the art of marketing. Senior marketing leaders from each of the event’s presenting sponsors Kantar Millward Brown, Kantar TNS, Microsoft Canada and Environics Analytics were on deck to speak. In our first installment of the event recap, we learned how to put the human back into marketing. If you missed that post, you can read it here.

Part 2 - The Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us

Opening her presentation, Digital Transformation: The Future of Modern Marketing, Emma Da Silva, VP, Marketing & Operations, Microsoft Canada, with a slide about a topic of great conversation at the 2015 World Economic Forum: the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, authored and presented a whitepaper on the topic, the introduction of which can be read at the link. In the whitepaper, Schwab posited that we stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another.

Before describing the details of the fourth, Ms. Da Silva provided the audience with a quick overview of the previous three industrial revolutions.

The First Industrial Revolution took place between 1760 and 1840. Remarkable as the dawn of an era where water and steam power created something new, the steam engine, it was the ingenuity and the business connection that had tremendous impact on the world.

The Second Industrial revolution followed, from 1870 to 1940. In this time period, electricity was the innovation and transportation is the application. Circa 1905, 25% of food production was for horses, the majority of which were used for transportation (think horses and buggies.) Naturally, there were thousands of jobs (and thousands of workers whose livelihood it was) to pick up horse droppings. As the pace of change accelerated, by 1920, city streets in major metropolises had no more horses. What impact did that have on the thousands who needed to adapt to the new reality, to find new work and new ways to support themselves? 

The Third Industrial Revolution is likely the one that most of us are most intimately familiar with, it having taken place between 1960 and 2015. The advent of the microprocessor and its impact on all things is well documented elsewhere. (Just take a look at your smartphone, which has more computing power than those multi-million dollar, room-sized computers that sent Americans to space…) 

2015 and beyond is expected to be the Fourth Industrial revolution. Best characterized by three types of applications, physical, biological and digital, Schwab details the ways in which everything is in the early stages of changing. Physical applications of this change include autonomous vehicles, robotics, 3d printing, new materials, while biological applications will include genetic diagnostics, treatment, and engineering. Finally, in what reads like a list of “hot topics for digital marketers,” the digital applications include the Internet of Things, Blockchain and disruptive business models.

The opportunity is all about data and what we do with it

If you consider that every day, human civilization creates more than 2.57 exabytes of data, that 90% of all data in the world has been created in the last two years, this mass explosion of data can’t help but have a significant impact on how quickly innovation happens, and the effect that this will have on all areas of our lives. Consider that in 2020, it’s predicted that we can expect 40 zettabytes of digital information to be created daily. That’s a trillion gigabytes. In more digestible terms, that amount of data can power and store 152 years of HD video. It’s clear that the opportunity is all about data and what we do with it as marketers.

Already, we’re seeing market shifts in customer behaviour: 92% of customer buying decisions are influenced by digital engagement. 66 to 90% of a buyer journey is self-directed to learn about products and services. Technology is rapidly shaping the marketing discipline. Modern marketers must deeply understand marketing technology to be effective. From 2011 to 2015, remarkably, we moved from 100 to 1876 marketing technology vendors, most of which are now cloud based.

In today’s environment, the “modern marketers that excel in today’s environment are able to connect customer and business needs in order to deliver consistent results.” At the core, marketers remain storytellers, but five additional traits are needed in order to best predict success; modern marketers must be business minded, process driven, technologists, buyer-focused and analytical. On analytics, it’s important to consider what good measurement tells us: What happened? How does that compare to what expected? How did we perform? What do we do with it?

After sharing the details of the revenue marketing journey, Ms. Da Silva spoke briefly about where sales needs marketing: higher quality leads, pipeline acceleration, sales-driven programs and industry content lead the sales wish list. The linkage between marketing and sales and fulfilling this wish list was one of the takeaways from the presentation.

At this point in the presentation, Ms. Da Silva invited her colleague, Cassaundra Laundry, Marketing Operations, Microsoft Canada, to present a live demo about the digital transformation of marketing at Microsoft. Walking the crowd through the tools – think CRM plus machine learning and a lot of analysis, both human and computer-based – that Microsoft uses on a connected customer journey provided the crowd with a rare view into the “secret sauce” of an iconic technology company.
Digital transformation hinges on four imperatives: engage your customers, transform your products, empower your employees, optimize your operations. These are systems of intelligence.

At the end of the presentation, the audience was eager to ask questions and the presenters were happy to oblige.

In our third and final installment of the event recap, we’ll share the thoughts of the morning’s final speaker, Jan Kestle, President  & CEO of Environics Analytics, as she shared case studies that help modern marketers to make the most of customer insights.

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Tags: digital transformation, data, industrial revolution, microsoft, insights