Here’s a bit of advice about consumer insights that’s short and sweet – and so fundamentally important that it needs to be constantly reiterated. It comes from Andrew Clarke, Chief Marketing & Customer Officer of Mars, the iconic candy company that produces M&Ms, Milky Way bars and much more.
The UK marketing periodical, Campaign, reported on a recent talk Clarke gave in England, where Mars is headquartered. Here's the key quote:
“`Marketers should trust data,’ Clarke said. `It's very easy to make bad decisions in today's world. It's much easier to make brave decisions if you have the right information. But it's very stupid to make brave decisions without data.’"
There’s been a drumbeat of coverage in business publications about how the role of a Chief Marketing Officer is changing, and how pressured and insecure the position has become. Clarke addressed this uncertainty head-on, noting a study in which – yikes! – 80% of CEOs surveyed said they were not impressed by their CMOS.
Instead of playing defense, Clarke urged marketers to embrace imaginative thinking and innovation, because imagination and innovation are what marketing should be about.
“I think being a Chief Marketing Officer is brave….We’re the ones trying to take the future forward, and that future is tricky,” Clarke said.
It’s a fundamental truth that one of the most important keys to moving brands forward is trustworthy data on which their executives can base decisions. But it’s crucial to realize that as the world and its people change, achieving the fundamentals requires innovative and imaginative tactical adjustments that get ahead of, or at least keep up with, the pace of change. That’s what we think Clarke means when he defines marketing as a brave attempt to “take the future forward.”
If only 20% of CMOs are currently valued by their bosses, it’s time to disrupt the status quo. That’s not going to happen if marketers and market researchers fail to take a close look at their customary data streams. They should consider a methodical examination of whether the data they’re getting and the recommendations they’re making to those skeptical CEOs are truly representative of today’s consumers.
At the top of the list of innovative tools for obtaining consumer insights are mobile-app surveys and passive-data collected from a panel of consumer research app users. It’s not just the innovative technology that matters, but the way in which tech-focused, app-centric consumers will gravitate to an engaging survey app that lets them easily share opinions via the smartphones that are at the center of their comfort zones for information and communication. For a productive conversation about how mobile app research works, and how it can meet your specific project needs, just get in touch by clicking here.