There are three key pillars supporting the marketing department's goal of putting the customer at the center of business strategy, according to the seventh installment of the 'Marketing Imperatives' guide for CMOs from data-driven performance marketing agency Merkle. This article is copyright 2019 The Best Customer Guide.

The book explores the fundamentals of integrating across strategy, technology, and execution to implement a customer-centric approach over time. It also offers advice on how to accomplish this goal through the effective management and use of data from deliberate, informed interactions across channels and media.

The Marketing Imperatives are intended to provide a kind of road map for implementing a true people-based marketing strategy. But that transformation depends heavily on the integration of key aspects of the marketing approach.

Three essential pillars are outlined to guide CMOs on the path to growing their businesses and building competitive advantage:

  1. Integrate your customer strategy
    A foundation of planning will help marketers build a more complete picture of their desired audience, evolving the marketing strategy into a 360-degree customer strategy. The outcome is a roadmap for personalized engagements across media and channels, spanning the entire life cycle.
  2. Integrate your tech stack
    In addition to building this full customer profile, organizations should be focused on fully integrating their tech stack. The resulting data hub is the centralized facility for real-time receipt and distribution of customer data that also allows marketers to execute and modify marketing strategies.
  3. Integrate your execution
    Before embarking on this transformation, ensure the team has a clear vision of the integrated customer experience and enabling technology platform. This forms the basis of the plan, upon which you layer the people and processes required for execution. Remove the walls between organizational silos, while leveraging their unique capabilities. Clearly define, communicate, and measure every role and goal along the way.

"By using data and insights to build a complete 360-degree view of their customers, marketers can create personalized, informed messaging that differentiates their businesses from competitors," said Craig Dempster, president, Merkle Americas. "In this year's edition of the Marketing Imperatives, we examine the importance of integration and how the future of marketing favors companies that have the ability to link customer experience to data sourcing, management, insights, and activation across their own integrated platform."

The Imperatives book has been made available for free download from Merkle's web site: