New technologies and changing business needs are driving significant change in the chief marketing officer role.
Josh Mueller came to marketing via IT and web development early in his career, and after many years in marketing leadership at Dell he is now the global head of marketing at business analytics company Dun & Bradstreet. He’s had a front-row seat watching marketing evolve into what it is today, and sees new value in web content personalization.
SearchCRM.com spoke with Mueller about his approach to marketing, the increasing prevalence of AI in marketing and sales, and Dun & Bradstreet’s experiments with website personalization.
How has the role CMO changed and evolved?
Josh Mueller: In the past, CMOs were asked to own brands, to be really creative, to develop marketing strategies and execute against those strategies. Now they are asked to have their fingerprints across the entire enterprise and across the entire customer experience. That has really strengthened the CMO’s role. They have a really strong seat at the corporate strategy table. Those core skills are still really important … but CMOs just own so much more than they have historically, which is incredibly empowering and fascinating.
What marketing technology are you using in your stack right now?
Mueller: When I think about our stack it is Adobe Marketing Cloud, Oracle Marketing Cloud, Salesforce CRM, and then we do have some point solutions, such as Sprinklr and NewsCred and a few others that add specific point capabilities. We try to fully utilize every piece of marketing technology that we buy and integrate into our stack. The reason we do that is because it is really important that the data is right, that it is consistent, that it is flowing, and that the systems are not only integrated with each other, but that they’re integrated with nonmarketing technology systems across the company.
Are there any capabilities that you are looking to strengthen?
Mueller: Like many, I am fascinated with what is going on in AI and machine learning. … We are partnering with [Conversica] to use their AI-driven sales technology, which allows us to use a bot that goes out and responds to [leads]. It starts to figure out over time what time people respond and what language works the best. It actually reads the emails that are sent back and tries different patterns and does A/B testing of when to reach out and how to reach out. Early results are showing that we’re having better results with a bot in certain instances than we are with our traditional methods of sales outreach, which is incredibly encouraging for the future.
What do you keep in mind when implementing AI into marketing?
Mueller: There are a lot of conversations out there about AI and machine learning, and they have become buzzwords. I think what many people in the industry are missing is that those technologies are almost worthless if they don’t have the right core data foundation, if the right data strategy isn’t there, if the data is not structured, consistent, accurate, then the decisions made by the technology will be inaccurate and can actually provide a worse experience, which is the opposite of harnessing that technology.
Could you explain how Dun & Bradstreet uses web content personalization?
Mueller: We serve entrepreneurs, small businesses, medium businesses, all the way to the world’s largest organizations and government agencies, so trying to do that through one website poses a lot of challenges. However, because we have so much data and technology at our fingertips, when someone visits our site we are able to derive information about what size company this person works for, what industry this person is in, what persona they are.
… If you’re a marketer coming to the site, you might be interested in how you’re driving leads to your sales team so we will actually change the whole homepage experience of what content we show and what links we show. They feel like they are coming to a site made for marketers. … I look at [web content] personalization as a way to drive both customer experience and conversion optimization. It is just a tool that many are not taking advantage of the way that they should.