The Lurking Brand Threats Facing CMOs

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In this opinion piece, Zerto CMO Gil Levonai tackles the pace of change in advertising and the industry’s need for adaption and evolution.

As 2018 gets underway, growth continues to be the key focus for many CMOs.

The pace of change is forever increasing, so there is more pressure than ever before, to adapt and evolve, to drive further business growth.

To achieve this, there are several brand threats that CMOs can’t ignore – from innovation, and ever-changing trends, to technology challenges – in this day and age, the CMO must wear many hats.

Failure to evolve and stay resilient

This is especially the case for companies in the technology space, where change is rapid and far-reaching.

Brands need to continually reflect on their position and ask themselves “Who are we?” and “What are we doing in the world?” in order to fine-tune and really stand out in an undoubtedly noisy marketplace.

With this, comes the need to be resilient in the face of adversity.

In today’s climate, threats are everywhere; however, it is the inability to recognise and address these threats that greatly inhibits companies, rather than the original threats themselves.

The impact of high profile outages and ‘down time’

Outages from Australian organisations across the financial, government, travel and telecommunications sectors seem to be occurring on a weekly basis often caused by hardware failures, software upgrades, human error and ransomware attacks – causing major service interruption.

The impact of these outages brings to light the stark reality that as cloud continues to evolve, there are serious challenges to its true resiliency to withstand unforced errors.

From reputational damage to lost revenue, lost productivity or other measures – one thing is for certain, no business can afford an outage in today’s ultra-competitive business environment.

Downtime can have disastrous implications for a business, both financially and reputationally.

An IT outage and subsequent downtime can lead to a substantial drop in brand trust and loyalty.

We live in a digital economy that expects and demands 24/7 ‘always on’ service and when this isn’t available, organisations don’t get off lightly.

We’ve also seen how quickly customers take to social media to vent their frustration when an outage occurs – causing massive backlash for a brand. A disaster recovery (DR) strategy has never been so important.

Failure to improve marketing agility and innovation with the cloud

The new digital economy has meant an acceleration in marketing technology.

Almost all of it is cloud based, enabling very fast and agile adoption of new processes, metrics and automation at a pace that was never thought possible before.

In particular, the rise of cloud computing has resulted in an avalanche of innovative products that cover just about every conceivable marketing discipline.

Cloud is the ultimate enabler for the new wave of marketing solutions – allowing us to push the boundaries, solve problems quicker, and bring together customised campaigns that clearly measure results.

Cloud technology allows greater agility and innovation, and if you’re not already taking advantage, then you’re behind the eight ball.

Ever changing landscape

These days CMOs need to strike a balance between being a scientist and a brand strategist. Data driven marketing is the new normal, and CMOs needs to be analytical and be able to go from the 30 thousand foot view all the way down to the details, in order to evaluate ever changing investments and channels.

But at the same time, brand is becoming more and more important to success, requiring CMOs to have the necessary skills to understand their customers’ viewpoint and the creativity and strategic thinking to make a brand stand out in todays noisy world.

For Zerto, APAC is a challenging region due to its huge diversity and sheer size. Every country is a micro cosmos by itself, requiring constant strategy tweaking and campaign adaptations.

The only way to address this is by having a strong local team that is skilled in all marketing disciplines, becoming a ‘mini department’ for the region.

Flexibility and agility is also key in a company of this size. When implementing a new marketing strategy, you need to allow your team the flexibility to localise the interpretation for both an internal and external audience. Let it live out slightly differently where culturally it makes sense to do so.

We are living in an era where being resilient is the key to the survival. To do this a CMO needs to plan ahead but be open minded for change across all departments of an organisation.

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