Episode #178: Inside the Minds of the World’s CMOs

Ever wonder what’s going through the mind of a CMO? The issues they’re thinking about, and the problems keeping them up at night? Resident expert Marshall Kirkpatrick wondered too. So he fired up a few of his research tools (including Sprinklr, of course) and spent some time scouring the Internet to learn what CMOs are reading, and what they’re posting about. It’s an insightful glimpse into the key trends in marketing today.

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The smell of victory. Smells like an email.

Okay, welcome. We are back for another episode of the Unified CXM Experience. As always, I’m your host, Grad Conn, CXO, Chief Experience Officer at Sprinklr. So, got, kind of a cool, interesting project I’m working on right now. We’re not done obviously, never really are. But there’s kind of some interesting stuff in this project, and I thought I’d share some of it today. I’m going to credit a lot of this to my VP of Marketing, Marshall Kirkpatrick, who has been doing some outstanding work, actually, but you can’t have him. Anyway, so Marshall has been doing some outstanding work. And right now he’s just working a little bit on what are CMOs thinking because this show hits a lot of CMOs, and certainly a lot of people in marketing, may exclusively hit only CMOs, and people in marketing, I thought it’d be useful to, you know, go through, and talk about this a little bit, and see what’s on CMOs’ minds. And so, Marshall sort of thought was, hey, let’s look at it a couple of different ways. One, what are analysts writing? And then what are people actually talking about on modern channels? So on the social channels out there, what are people saying, what are people talking about? And so I’m going to go through the articles first, they’re a little different, it’s interesting, the priority of what’s important is different.

And Marshall’s stack ranked the top 15 or 16 in each category, I’m not sure I’m going to go that far. But I’m going to probably go through the first five and just compare them between the lists because there’s some slight differences, which are quite interesting. So the analysts’ articles, and so these would be posts by analysts in the last 30 days. So we’re looking at high level of recency on this stuff. And to get this data, Marshall did a custom Google search. And he looked at a set of specific analysts, and then a view down the long tail as well. And the specific analysts were McKinsey. And one can say that if you really want to know what senior executives are thinking, see what McKinsey is publishing. They’re very tuned in to what senior executives care about and publish to that insight. And also, senior executives read McKinsey a lot. So what McKinsey writes about tends to be what they seem to be concerned about. So it’s a very good indicator of how to talk to the C suite. So McKinsey, Deloitte, one of the world’s greatest SIs, Accenture, another one of the world’s great SIs, Gartner, and Forrester, which, of course, are the two, I think, biggest analyst firms, both highly respected, we work very closely with both of them, Boston Consulting Group, we’ve worked with a number of times, especially at Microsoft, actually, Constellation, which is a really great analyst firm, does some really interesting customer research. And then you know, a variety of others out there.

And so what we found is the top five, in order of number of articles, the top number one concern of CMOS or we’ll say the top thing that analysts are writing about that’s probably going to be the number one concern of CMOS. Can you guess? I actually did this exercise with someone the other day, I didn’t guess so there’s no shame in not knowing this. I did it with someone who’s also very highly plugged into this. And she couldn’t guess either. Number one source of articles or topic of articles, Security, isn’t that interesting? Security, 70 articles about Security. Number two, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, DEI. That makes sense. I think that sort of makes sense; that feels very topical, very top of mind. Number three, Measurement. Number four, Innovation, just as a general category. And I’d say that marketing is evolving so quickly, and the needs are evolving so quickly that innovation is a key concern. I hear this all the time myself. Number five, CRM, makes sense. People are investing a lot of money in CRM. Number six, I’m going to go down maybe to 10. Number six is the Metaverse or NFTs. Then number seven, CXM. That’s our favorite category because we’re Unified CXM. Number eight, Authenticity. I think authenticity referring primarily to how do people know they’re buying a product that’s actually made by the company they think they’re buying it from? Number nine is MarTech. How am I building stacks? And number 10 Is Customer Data. A lot of people talking about CDP’s these days. How do I create first party data stores? All this stuff’s becoming strategic and critical as we look at the end of third-party cookies. So top 10: Security, DEI, Measurement, Innovation, CRM, Metaverse or NFTs, CXM, Authenticity, MarTech, and Customer Data.

You know, we think about those things and there’s some other things at the bottom of the lists – crypto is in there, content marketing, datalinks, social media is way down there. But these are all the things that we do tend to talk about every day. And it’s interesting, the range of articles is pretty close, like 70 articles on Security, 58 on DEI, 57 on Measurement, 52 on Innovation, 35 on CRM, 32 on Metaverse, 24 on CXM, 20 on Authenticity,14 on MarTech, 12 on Customer Data, so starting to get a little bit long taily by the time to get to number 10, but still a pretty solid number of articles for each one of these. And so at the edge is a really great article in CMO Today, which is done by Deloitte in the Wall Street Journal, they talk about how Kellogg’s fosters a culture of inclusivity super important. You know, consumers want privacy. So this is something that Boston Consulting wrote a great article on – Consumers Want Privacy Marketers Can Deliver. So how are marketers going to be at the front edge of delivering the privacy needs that consumers want and, you know, the list goes on. We’re actually pulling this together. And I think we’re going to probably publish this, probably stick it on a Sprinklr blog. And when we do that, we’ll probably let you know that that’s in place, you can start taking a look at all these different articles, some will have paywalls. But you can take care of that yourself.

So that’s what the analysts are talking about. So now let’s go to Social. So when you go to Social, what are the topics on Social that talk about marketing? And what’s interesting is there are some things that are the same, so some things in the Top Ten list are the same but the order is a bit different. So for example, security was the number one thing we were talking about with analysts and the articles we looked at a second ago on the editorial review when you look at what people are talking about. This is obviously done with Sprinklr listening Explorer. So we use Sprinklr to see what people are talking about. And there’s, you know, hundreds of thousands of mentions in these cases. Security is actually up there, 273,000 mentions, but it’s only number seven. It’s seventh in a list that’s topped by the Metaverse or NFTs with 835,000 mentions, and I will say that this Metaverse topic, it’s pretty poppy. We’ve got to get into this. Okay, we’re just going to start doing more Metaverse stuff on this broadcast and in other places as well because the Metaverse is at the early stage of its’ hype curve. There’ll be a valley of disappointment ahead of us in a couple of years, but the brands that get in there and understand it and start to leverage it well will be well served by that.

Second thing which is interesting is Content Marketing. It’s actually the second topic with 809,000 mentions, Content Marketing is a right up there, CMPs, etc. And then not surprisingly, number three is DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion). So it’s only just going to slip to place in between the two lists, there are 611,000 mentions, so you could almost, in some ways, if you took a look at these two lists, you’d say, “Hey, DEI, clearly super important, the analysts are writing about it a lot and it’s getting a ton of mentions in social, so we better make sure we’re plugged in on that.” One thing we’ve noticed, and Marshall does a lot of analysis on competitive effectiveness. And he looks at how brands are posting, etc. One thing we found is that universally, I think it’s universally, we have not yet found an exception to this rule. The brands that tend to outperform in their category around the posts that they’re doing concentrate a lot of their posts around topics in DEI, so it’s not just good for your soul, but it’s also good for the business. That’s always a nice combination. Number four is Social Media, which is interesting.

Number five is Blockchain and Crypto, so that’s a significantly different position than it is on the analyst side. Number six is Innovation. Now Innovation in the article list was at four so Innovation is right up there as well. So we’re sort of saying, ”Hmm, Innovation is also appearing on both lists in similar positions. So that’s, that’s interesting”. Number seven is Security, which we’ve mentioned before. Number eight is Measurement. So Measurement was Number three in the analyst list. It’s Number eight in the Social Mentions list, but still 185,000 mentions, it’s not something to be sneezed at. Then Authenticity is Number nine, and then Customer Data and Cookies at 102,000 mentions is Number ten. And then there’s a few others below them. CXM, CRM are actually not talked about as much in Social. And then I think there is like a little bit of a targeting issue here too. The analysts tend to write for the C Suite, for the senior leaders, whereas what we’re picking up in all the social conversations in Sprinklr, would be conversations from everybody. So you’re going to see practitioners in there, you’re going to see influencers, people who are, you know, in the field, etc. So there’s a bit more of a democratic view of what’s interesting out there. And I do like that. I mean, it’s always important to understand what senior leaders are thinking, but senior leaders are definitely influenced by the people on their team. So the senior leader’s, like, “I think the most important thing is Measurement”, someone on the team might say, “We’ve got to be all over DEI, because if we’re not, we’re going to get trounced by our competitors, and we’re going to, you know, not be a company that people are going to want to work for”.

So those are the kinds of things that’s a dynamic that lives inside the company. So I, I always prefer to look at the social rankings, with an eye to what the analysts are writing about just to understand and really look to see where is there commonality between the two, and then leverage it. So that’s where we are right now on what are CMOs thinking? And we’re going to be spending more time on this. And probably every week, I’ll probably do a drop on new things we’ve learned about what CMOs are thinking and I’ll have, you know, sort of resource links and stuff posted on the blog. And we’ll kind of go from there. So, hope you enjoyed this data driven version of the Unified CXM Experience. As always, I’m Grad Conn, CXO, or Chief Experience Officer at Sprinklr, and I’ll see you … next time.