Digital command centers will become organizational imperatives

Clement Teo/Forrester Research
Vision 2016

2016 will be a critical year for telcos and service providers to improve their ability to serve digitally savvy, empowered customers. To thrive in the age of the customer, they must internalize the concept of customer obsession and accept that digital innovations have disrupted their business models and created customers who are not only empowered, but entitled. Current marketing organizations need restructuring to ensure that the marketing team possesses increased control and responsiveness in the face of growing customer expectations.   

To respond relevantly in real-time, marketers in the telecom industry must transform batch-oriented and channel-focused campaign management teams into nimble teams. These teams will affect the shift toward providing the right digital customer experiences to suit their customers’ needs and expectations - especially in a world of proliferating touchpoints.    

Digital imperative   

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Vision 2016 Supplement

In 2016, Forrester predicts that the digital command center will become an organizational imperative. A digital command center speeds up time-to-market, aligns with an overarching marketing objective, and realizes cost-efficiencies in the long term. Digital command centers also bring a level of institutional knowledge of the brand.   

We define the digital command center as “an in-house marketing organizational construct that integrates various marketing capabilities under the same roof to drive customer obsession and turn marketing insights into action for growth.”   

The center can come in a range of designs: from pop-up centers at major events, to a permanent room that house a roster of staff - from product marketing, PR, content/creative, media planning/buying, production, and so on. For an increasing number of CMOs in Asia Pacific, such a center delivers actionable insights to improve market research, better support customers, and drive sales. Digitally transformed organizations, or those that already have started their digital transformation, will benefit from such organizational imperatives as it allows for better cross-channel collaboration and extraction of actionable insights from data.   

The command center is a long term complex endeavor for leading, digitally transformed (or transforming) organizations. But CMOs with a clear focus on what the digital command center can ultimately accomplish will help their firms surge ahead of the competition.    

Specialists required   

In additional to reorganizing the marketing structure, another challenge that CMOs in Asia Pacific face is the struggle to adopt new marketing technology tools and strategies to serve increasingly empowered customers. The complex marketing tech landscape is limiting CMO’s ability to fully engage customers throughout their journey across a data-driven digital landscape. Forrester predicts that demand for marketing tech specialists (MTS) will increase in 2016.   

Forrester defines an MTS as an experienced technologist who works in marketing and has the ability to lead technology, software development, and agile project management processes.    
This new role has become necessary as organizations seek to better understand the customer lifecycle, and transform that knowledge into positive business outcomes instead of focusing on siloed marketing channels or traditional product approaches. While the role will remain poorly defined throughout 2016, we expect CMOs to start hiring staff that combines marketing technology expertise with business acumen, or to begin using an existing internal marketing resource.   

CMOs must have a single skilled player on the marketing team, and place technology decisions about digital channels, data analytics, customer engagement management, content management, and digital asset management under that person. The MTS serves as the liaison with the tech management organization and ensures that it implements the marketing tech stack successfully and in a timely manner.   

Forrester expects 2016 to be another year of rapid change as firms learn to cope and respond to empowered customers and agile competitors. Only with a marketing organization that is agile can CMOs ultimately help their firms to win, serve and retain customers. 

Clement Teo is senior analyst serving B2C marketing professionals at Forrester Research

Six key trends to prepare you for the digital revolution:

  1. Spectrum, security, wallet and watch  
  2. Digital command centers will become organizational imperatives
  3. Five ways to embrace digital disruption
  4. Accelerating growth will alter the fintech picture
  5. The year of industrial-strength IoT
  6. The death (and rebirth) of data privacy

This article was first published in Telecom Asia Vision 2016 Supplement

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