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The courageous CMO: has more data systems than the CIO


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The CMO knows that data-driven decisions will always beat assumptions.


Data-drivenErik Eskedal is the agency director for Sopra Steria‘s services to the marketing and sales department. He is a well-known face in B2B marketing in Norway, with extensive experience as a marketing manager and consultant. Throughout his career, Eskedal has advocated combining technology and creativity, as well as getting a return on your investment – in the end. 

“In a society characterised by digital change, few things have changed as much as marketing. Data is the common denominator in a business sector that has become insight-driven,” says Eskedal.


Therefore, he believes there is no longer room for guesses and assumptions. Customer data is more than numbers and statistics.

“It’s your source of truth about what customers want and prefer. And customers must always be the main focus of the business,” he says.

“Therefore, marketing must not stand alone. There must be digital change so that data flows across the company’s disciplines and systems.”

We’re drowning in data that we don’t manage to use.

Eskedal claims that the use of customer data in our society is too poor. The reasons can often be related to fear of GDPR, outdated computer models and systems, or lack of interaction with the IT department. 

– We are no longer loyal to brands. Therefore, companies need to understand customer needs better to communicate on the recipient’s terms. The most important thing as we advance is creating good customer experiences; to do that, he says you need to understand your customers. 

This challenge will not diminish, as technology opportunities are growing almost daily.

” In the last two years alone, the number of programs and systems for marketers has increased by 24 per cent, and there are over 10,000 products to meet marketing and communication needs. The marketing department may have more systems than the IT department! Therefore, it is difficult to make the right choice,” Eskedal points out.

The need to acquire knowledge

The most important answer to the challenges is knowledge of technology and more intelligent processes, which the marketing department must always acquire.

“If you want to be technology- or data-driven now, the marketing manager must become a marketing technologist. At the same time, it’s not the one with the most technology that will win. It’s about using technology across the organisation to create great customer experiences.”

Therefore, he believes that the modern marketer must have a technology map showing how data flows.

“The marketer simply has to become Don Draper and Minority Report.” He says, ” someone who understands the technology, data and the creative,” adding, “You have more chances to succeed if the CMO and CIO become best friends.”

What exactly is data-driven marketing?

Data-driven marketing is about optimising communication based on customer information, Eskedal believes. 

This way, customer and insight data helps predict customers’ needs, wishes and future behaviour. This insight should be used when the messages are personal and adapted for the many different channels in the marketing mix. 

“Customers have firm and clear expectations of us today. They want empathy, that we show that we understand them and listen to them. They want transparency. Their data should be managed properly, they should not feel cheated, and it must be clear what happens next when they do something,” says Eskedal, who sums this up in a desire for dialogue. 

“To succeed with this, we need to be able to collect the data and have the technology that can help us use it in marketing, sales, customer service, etc.”

Data-driven marketing makes it possible to place the right content, at the right time, in the right channel to the right person throughout the customer journey. “Digitalisation must benefit the end customer, and marketing is a listening post that uses the data from the entire customer journey,” he says.

Identify what skills you need.

Eskedal is clear about how critical it is that the marketing department acquires digital competence. If not, your competitors will be those who:

  • Know the most about the market and customers
  • Have the most robust relationships with your audience
  • Have the messages that engage the most
  • Have the most significant effect from investments in various channels

He refers to a survey by Digital Information World, which showed that three out of four customers feel frustrated seeing irrelevant content. 

“Eight out of ten will not consider an offer unless a provider adapts it to previous interactions. Companies that are good at personalised messages deliver five to eight times higher returns from their marketing efforts. Then we can argue that the CMO is the company’s most crucial strategist,” he concludes.


AndreasThue iteo2

About the author

Andreas Thue is the founder and managing director of Iteo, Norway’s leading B2B agency and one of four BBN partners in the Nordics. Iteo has been recognised as the best Communications-agency in Norway five years in a row (2017-2021) and as the best content & performance agency in 2021.

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