The IBM CMO Study: Strengthened Visually

While I read the report, or rather re-read it, I realised some of the data could be better explained and hence this visualization. It’s only when I went thru this exercise of visualization, I realized that there are some areas which they need to highlight much more, well at least according to me, and I feel that’s the crucial part. More on that down below.

IBM CMO Study(From Stretched to Strengthened: Insights from the Global Chief Marketing Officers Study). Firstly it’s a good report, however, I doubt most will be able to leverage it. Note: I think it’s a good report, however, it has so much valuable insight – 72 pages, that consuming this report effectively is going to be a challenge for most individuals and hence organizations.

The Empowered Customer

The report begins by clearly identifying that today we’re dealing with an Empowered Customer and she seriously affects traditional marketing.

Empowered Customer-Shops around the world


The empowered customer today has the ability to shop around the world.


Empowered Customer-Easy Search

The empowered customer can easily search and find information about companies their products and services.


Empowered Customer - Easily Shares their Views

Empowered customers can easily share their views with hundreds and thousands of other people and customers.


Empowered Customers - Can Make or Break Brands
Empowered customers can literally make or break a brand overnight.



Empowered Customers

There you have it all four factors of today’s empowered consumers.




Can you list at least five different ways this affects your business? Or five things which you should be doing? (drop a comment I’d love to hear.)

Four Pervasive, Universal Game-Changers

Pervasive Universal Game-Changers


Most CMO’s acknowledge the above four factors are huge game-changers and dealing with the above is challenging.


Data ExplosionData Explosion – YouTube’s 490 million users upload more video content in a 60-day period than the three major U.S. television networks created in 60 years.  (Source : Elliott, Amy-Mae. “10 Fascinating YouTube Facts That May Surprise You.” Mashable. February 19, 2011.

Read that again, could you possibly imagine the implication when it comes to much simpler to produce textual information, just like this blog post Smile



Social MediaSocial Media -  digital data sources can provide crucial insights into how
customers and influencers think and behave.




Proliferation of Devices

Devices – Social media, and the growing number of channels and devices from which customers can choose, come a close second and third in terms of the anxiety they generate.



Shifting Consumer DemographicsShifting Consumer Demographics – Sixty-three percent believe shifting consumer demographics will have a significant impact on their marketing
functions. However, only 37 percent feel substantially or fully prepared to deal with the shift.

But to scale this effectively,organizations need to consider building fundamentally different relationships. They need to enable employees to engage with customers and provide customers and other constituents the ability to help one another.

What are the top successful CMO’s focussing on?

Focus on Relationships Not Transactions


The most proactive CMOs are trying to understand individuals as well as markets.

Engaging with customers is not just about communicating with them. It’s also about helping them enjoy the products and services they’ve bought, and collaborating with them to co-create new products and services.



This is not for the faint hearted,  there are lot of things one needs to do, to get to this stage, you’re literally talking about leading your entire organization to engage with customers. You need the entire c-suite behind this effort.


Values & Purpose

Many organizations have a clearly defined corporate character but still need to work on instilling that character in the workforce.




Cultural change and imbibing character is one of the biggest challenges for organizations. Creating and fostering internal advocates and communities is key to enable a cultural change.

Key challenge faced by all? ROI

Return on Marketing Investment

CMOs recognize they now need to quantify the value they bring to the business, be it from investing in advertising, new technologies or any other activity. Nearly two-thirds of CMOs think return on
marketing investment will be the primary measure of their effectiveness by 2015. But proving that value is difficult. Even among the most successful enterprises, half of all CMOs feel insufficiently prepared to provide hard numbers.

Roadblocks? What’s preventing CMOs from using new tools? Building the business case, IT issues and lack of technology skills in the marketing function.

I feel lack of a coherent enterprise wide strategy driven by clear business objectives is the biggest roadblock. An enterprise wide ecosystem needs to be established. Marketing alone can’t take this forward, the entire organization needs to adapt, across customer support, to R & D… Three things CMOs need to do

Final words for you the reader and the report creators at IBM

You can’t do it alone: I feel one element needs to be highlighted much more to organizations. No matter how many resources you mobilize internally it will fall short. You need to build an ecosystem consisting of advocates(empowered customers), partners, communities and consultants. You need to adopt frameworks and think hard about the cultural impact which will occur and are needed within your organization.

Ok now for the IBM’ers, firstly awesome report, totally love the content, but I’m sure you can make it simpler to understand, absorb and adopt, infact I’d suggest to make a video. Or maybe its just me, who is suffering from this phenomenal data, nay, insights load. If you need help contact Totally Shameless Plug Winking smile

Now for you the reader… If you’ve enjoyed the post and nodded along or not, the comments section below is really waiting for someone to break the ice… be among the first five to do so, and I promise a fun 30 minute Skype chat to discuss the above ideas and any questions you have. And pretty please, if you like this, share away and that will make my time composing this post fruitful Smile also don’t forget to thank the good guys at IBM here and on their LinkedIn Group.

P.S. You might also like to read our latest report. An exclusive peak into how Microsoft leverages Brand Advocates and builds lasting relationships with empowered customers. $1000 value report for free:

Microsoft: 20 Brand Advocate Lessons” Learn about it here!

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  • Anonymous

    Great job, Sanjay! Keep up the good work. There is also an executive version of the IBM CMO study. That one focuses on just the key points.

    • SanjayShetty

      Christoph, Thanks for letting me know will look it up as well.

      • Anonymous

        Are you interested in a guest post on my blog? Social is always a hot top topic. Something around measuring success with social media? Let me know.

        • SanjayShetty

          Hi Christoph,

          Thanks for the invite. Sounds fun,  lets connect via email (FirstName.LastName at and figure this out.


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  • wilton

    great simplicity…just love the clarity