I’m honored to be selected by Savoy Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America” along with many other distinguished leaders who represent some of the world’s most successful organizations.
As Chief Marketing Officer at IBM Global Financing, I help customers understand how delivering integrated technology solutions yields significant business value and helps solve complex company problems.
With experience working directly with many C-suite executives – including CEOs, COOs, CFOs, CTOs, CIOs, and CMOs – I know that top of mind challenges now include driving profitable growth through innovation and improving competitiveness.
But meeting these challenges is highly dependent on the close collaboration of all C-suite executives. One of the most important relationships is between the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Marketing Officer, who need to work closely together to align customer engagement initiatives with the company’s overall ROI objectives.
Transforming your organization for growth
Today’s business landscape is constantly evolving as technology is fundamentally shifting the relationship between customers and suppliers.
Traditional sales and marketing tools and processes are quickly becoming irrelevant as up to 67 percent of a buyer’s journey is now along digital channels1. Before they contact you, your customers are nearly 60 percent of the way through their decision-making cycle2.
That’s why new disruptive technologies – such as cloud, analytics, mobile, and social – have become vital for your organization’s ability to compete.
In fact, mobile may be the most significant technology for new strategic investments. A recent IDC report points out that while mobile now accounts for 25 percent of IT budgets at large enterprises, that’s expected to grow to 40 percent by 20183.
But technology itself can’t drive success. It takes a strong commitment to effective collaboration within the C-suite to accelerate your transformation and to assure growth in the years ahead.
New C-suite partnerships essential to success
It’s clear that as more buyers have shifted their decision-making journey, today’s CMOs must deploy new technologies that deliver more insightful analysis – actionable information that can be used to create engagement that deepens customer relationships and increases loyalty.
This paradigm also requires that organizations make more effective use of new social and mobile technologies. That same IDC report predicts that in 2019, 25% of Online B2C transactions will be initiated through social media, and 45% of online spending will be initiated from a mobile device 3.
Supporting this mandate is the CFO’s goal to drive growth. A recent Gartner report points out that CEOs and other C-Suite executives rank “growth” as their top priority for investment and view technology-related change as the primary tool to achieve that growth in 20164. I couldn’t agree more.
As a co-author of several IBM Institute for Business Value studies, I know that it’s essential to act with speed, focus, and intent because these technology investment decisions directly impact company performance.
Our findings indicate that organizations that commit to two best practices – first, proactively adopting new technologies; and second, creating well-defined long-term IT strategies with the view that transformation is a process – are three times as likely to outperform industry peers in revenue growth and more than twice as likely to maintain higher net profit margins.
The common thread? These organizations have a committed leadership that views technology not just as a cost of doing business, but as an essential asset that drives growth.
Indeed, success in this new digital landscape clearly requires an unrelenting pursuit for profitable growth through innovation – driven by both new technologies and led by a strong partnership between the CMO and CFO.
Finally, highly effective collaboration within the entire C-suite will be needed to create the right corporate culture and mindset that’s keenly focused on both building and maintaining a competitive advantage.
By Jacqueline D. Woods
1 Sirius Decisions: “Three Myths of the 67 Percent Statistic”: https://www.siriusdecisions.com/Blog/2013/Jul/Three-Myths-of-the-67-Percent-Statistic.aspx
2 Corporate Executive Board, “Sell How Your Customers Want to Buy”; https://www.cebglobal.com/exbd/sales-service/challenger/new-decision-timeline/index.page
3 IDC; “IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Mobility 2016 Predictions”, Doc # 259815, November 2015
4 Gartner; 2015 Gartner CEO and Senior Business Executive Survey: http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3033618