Back in August 2014 I penned a piece for Forbes titled “Integrated Marketing Remains the Holy Grail for Marketers and Consumers.”

In that article I referenced one study after another that spoke to either the desire for marketers to deliver a true, seamless experience across all channels, or the need from consumers to be on the receiving end of said experience.

Fast-forward to just a few weeks ago, when a paper I co-authored with The CMO Club—called the “CMO Solution Guide to Leveraging New Technology and Marketing Platforms”—was released. This guide included contributions and recommendations from marketing leaders from such brands as Gap, American Express, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, and Kimberly-Clark as well as the findings from a survey of over 100 CMOs and marketing leaders.

The very first question posed to these leaders was, “Are you able to deliver a seamless, personalized consistent customer experience across all touch points?”

Of the 100-plus responses received, fewer than 15% indicated they could deliver that sought-after integrated experience, thus keeping it as, yes, the holy grail.

I wonder if Indiana Jones is available?

Technology to the Rescue

Fortunately for marketers, Harrison Ford won’t be needed, as there are technologies and marketing platforms available right now, as we speak, that can help marketers provide the integrated experience consumers want.

How do we know they want it?

This chart, from the CMO Solution Guide, is all the proof you need.

Source: CMO Solution Guide to Leveraging New Technology and Marketing Platforms

The Technology Conundrum

As fortunate as it is for marketers that the technologies and marketing platforms do exist, it’s equally unfortunate that there’s no shortage of options to peruse and ponder.

This excerpt from the guide speaks directly to this point:

“Given the vast array of technology, data points, channels, and tactics available, new technology and marketing automation has stepped in to help CMOs bring all their activities together and support the delivery of the ultimate customer experience. But has it really helped so far? Or has it simply created another overwhelming challenge for the CMO who now must become a technology expert to apply it efficiently?” —CMO Solution Guide

To aid marketers in their quest for that holiest of grails, the guide identified five solutions:

1. Be the Customer Champion Every Step of the Way

  • Understand the customer journey and technology requirements for engagement
  • Engage the organization
  • Create a customer-centric culture

2. Become BFFs with Your CIO

  • Speak the same language
  • Collaborate in person

3. Co-design the Optimal Customer-Driven Technology Roadmap

  • Think about your foundation (cross-channel, content, social marketing, etc.): is it open or proprietary?
  • Have a data management platform (DMP)

4. Rethink Your Marketing Organization and Processes

  • Focus on skills
  • Create new cross-functional teams and talent
  • Have a data scientist and campaign artist

5. Establish a System for Continuous Improvement

  • The system should be results-oriented: test, learn, repeat

The bottom line is that when the only constant is change, the new role of the CMO dictates the use of new technologies and marketing platforms to increase competitive advantage.

There is an undeniable need for CMOs to be constantly vigilant when it comes to monitoring the technologies and platforms they utilize and depend on—the health of their brand demands it.