CMOs need not be data scientists, but hiring one helps

A data-management specialist offers tips for CMOs.

Jeff Yoshimura
Jeff Yoshimura

It's a given that CMOs must embrace data. But its sheer volume can be daunting. However, Jeff Yoshimura, VP of marketing at Elastic, a company that builds software to make data usable in real time, does not agree that the volume issue really complicates the job for marketers.

“(It is) more about correlating data from many sources in a way that is usable in near real-time,” he said.

As there are so many different sources of data—websites, CRM systems, marketing campaigns, end user or SaaS applications, mobile, social—as well as offline sources such as events and trade shows, Yoshimura said what is most important is finding important signals from these data.

Not all CMOs are data scientists, nor should they be, he said. What they can do is to establish a marketing analytics function within their organisations. "This requires hiring more technical, data science-like resources in marketing who can build statistical models for analysing performance of campaigns, predicting pipeline trends, and developing early warning signals for the marketing team to react to for any launch or campaign," said Yoshimura. 

Meanwhile, Yoshimura is a great believer that consumer engagement starts with digital. "The website is usually the first touchpoint for the consumer," he said. "Whether you are trying to building the next eBay or an online dating app, you want the users to engage the content in multiple ways and we must be able to measure all of that."

Yoshimura said he was speaking from experience as his team has been constantly looking for ways to improve the user experience on Elastic's own site.

“How a consumer looks at the info of a product, whether the product can be found and downloaded in as little time as possible…we are looking for ideas to optmise the website by adding the touchpoints that consumers have with the product,” he said. A case in point was the company's decision to launch a Chinese-language site last year, which Yoshimura credited with a 125 percent increase in visitors from China.

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