According to a recent study by Chief Outsiders, a national business strategy consulting firm, 88% of Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) see difficulty in staying ahead of technological advancements.
According to Forrester, technology has not just impacted business, it has disrupted it. So much so that CNBC reported that the average life span of an S&P 500 company is about 20 years, down from 60 years in the 1950’s according to Credit Suisse.1
The way technology is evolving, imagine what that figure might be in 20 years.
The question posed to the CMOs was:
All you have to do is look at Moore’s law to understand why technology is moving so fast.
In 1965, Gordon E. Moore, the co-founder of Intel, made this observation that became Moore's Law.
Moore's Law refers to Moore's perception that the number of transistors on a microchip doubles every two years, though the cost of computers is halved. Moore's Law states that we can expect the speed and capability of our computers to increase every couple of years, and we will pay less for them. Another tenet of Moore's Law asserts that this growth is exponential.2
Source: Moore’s Law graph3
It is hard for a human to keep up with exponential growth.
For sake of this article, why specifically do CMOs think it will be hard to stay ahead of technology?
Because many CMOs haven’t kept up with technology to-date and the exponential growth that is expected to continue will be mind-boggling.
For example, as recently as the 1990’s, marketers had a finite list of advertising and promotional tactics to use to increase sales, improve brand awareness and grow market share.
Today, with the addition of OTT (Over the Top) TV, banner ads, advertising on social media and other digital options, the choices on where to place advertising dollars are staggering.
The modern CMO is faced with options in Martech and Adtech. Yes, those are real terms used within the marketing world. In 2011, we had about 150 MarTech choices. In 2019, there were over 7,000 choices.
To put in perspective, RedHat published the following tech stack that is aligned with the customer journey. One brand using this technique would interact with over 30 Martech vendors.
Who can keep up with that, let alone stay ahead of it?
Technology has disrupted business in many ways. According to Forrester, the primary reason technology has disrupted business is based on three issues:
In their reports titled “Winning In The Age Of The Customer” and “The Customer-Obsessed Enterprise,” Forrester suggests that companies that are not just customer focused, but customer obsessed, achieve higher revenue growth, customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction.
To put into perspective how important technology to business is, consider how different brands in food service were impacted by the pandemic.
As reported in QSR magazine for Domino’s “What’s happened in the first four weeks of Q2 (March 23 to April 19) has been more enlightening. Domino’s witnessed U.S. company comps jump 10.6 percent. Franchises are up 6.9 percent. Blended, it’s a 7.1 percent year-over-year same-store number.”
Chipotle’s digital sales grew 80.8% and accounted for 26.3% of sales for the quarter leading into the pandemic.
The first 3 examples are from brands who were already focusing on their digital capabilities. Wing Stop was one of the first restaurant brands to offer chat bot ordering on social media platforms. And Domino’s has become the defacto leader in the pizza segment when it comes to technology.
The key takeaway for restaurants is that the pandemic created a new set of consumer desires and demands and the brands (often chain with marketing teams) already knowledgeable and leading in technology won. This plays out in retail too. If you’re a retailer and you didn’t have an eCommerce platform prior to March 13, you’re probably hurting bad, or closed.
The pandemic forced many brands to accelerate their use and adoption of technology to meet the new consumer needs.
When it comes to brick & mortar businesses, technology is part of the customer experience and great technology can create a great frictionless user experience. Bad technology can do the opposite. The pandemic forced business owners to embrace eCommerce, digital ordering and contactless payments and transactions faster than ever before. Consequently, brick & mortar brands must:
It’s not easy to keep up with technology and the effects of social distancing and working from home simply made every business pivot or adapt to less touch and more connection via technology.
If Forrester is right, the technology we marketers use to reach intended customers needs to pivot and more companies need to become customer obsessed to succeed.
Staying ahead of that trend will be very difficult, very difficult indeed.