Analytics and Machine Learning: Catalysts of Change in Marketing Arena

By Claudine Bianchi, CMO, ClickSoftware

Claudine Bianchi, CMO, ClickSoftware

The New Responsibility for Marketers

Marketing typically has the largest discretionary budget in any organization because of the variety of activities we do, but now it also has the largest discretionary technology budget. That shift of dollars away from IT has been causing tensions for some time, but marketers now must be at the head of the table when purchasing everything from CRM, to business intelligence and analytics tools, to ecommerce platforms, and of course the website. Just like technology, customer experience budget and planning will move more towards marketing—as will customer satisfaction KPIs. The entire customer journey from pre-sale to customer advocacy is part of the overall brand experience. Marketers will own it.

"Predictive analytics driven by AI and machine learning are going to change the way we do just about everything"

Need of This Hour: Break the Mold

One of the biggest obstacles marketers still run into is resistance to change. The pressure is on to contribute to the pipeline, but a lot of companies still insist on maintaining legacy systems that don’t support the agility expected of marketers. If we always left these things to IT, we might still be running everything with DOS commands and fearing the cloud. Outdated technology really gets in the way of marketers who want to push the envelope and get results fast.

Exploring Opportunities

My sole focus is on the pipeline. Quantifying impact in the number of deliverables or even early stage metrics like MQLs is outdated, and it doesn’t tell the right story. Once you zero in on opportunities and revenue, it’s easy to see how important inbound is—it’s so closely tied to driving the desired behavior.

Targets are Still Relevant

I still measure my team on meeting deadlines. We’re expected to deliver results every quarter and show we’re efficient and effective. Fast delivery absolutely matters. Prioritization is key to making this work without overworking my team. My role is to clear the runway so they’re more focused on doing the right things and delivering consistently.

Moving Forward

An effective tech marketer can walk the line between right and left-brain thinking. To compete in an increasingly crowded and demanding landscape, marketers will have to be agile creative thinkers who can innovate in both what they do and how they do it; at the same time, they have to think analytically and always look for ways to improve and optimize for the best results.

Predictive Analytics: A Game Changer

In the business world, I think predictive analytics driven by AI and machine learning are going to change the way we do just about everything, in every part of any organization. On a personal level, I think virtual reality holds tremendous promise. My kids have a headset that holds an iPhone and they can go anywhere in the world that way. It’s incredible to think that eventually things that prevent people from traveling more—like cost or disability—will no longer be an obstacle. I know I’m never going to climb Mount Everest, but with VR, I can get a real sense of it. How great is that?

What Makes Me Future Fit?

I am addicted to my Fitbit, and it has reshaped my eating and walking habits—I’m all about building up that daily calorie burn. FaceTime keeps me closer to my kids when I’m traveling for work. Seems like every day there’s a new app or tool that makes it easier to do something better, or to do things that seemed impossible just a few years ago. Feeling as if I’m living in the future a bit—it definitely gets me out of bed in the morning.

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