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Cognitive computing a disruptive force, but are CMOs ready?

While marketing and sales professionals increasingly find themselves drowning in data, a new IBM study finds that 64 percent of surveyed CMOs and sales leaders believe their industries will be ready to adopt cognitive technologies in the next three years. However, despite this stated readiness, the study finds that only 24 percent of those surveyed believe they have strategy in place to implement these technologies today.

Marketing and sales outperformers are ahead of the cognitive game with 73 percent already collecting and analyzing external market data. Surveyed executives from businesses that have outperformed their competition for the past three years in revenue growth, profitability or other factors made up 13 percent of the study. Of these surveyed outperformers, 93 percent believe cognitive computing is mature and market ready, and 91 percent assert that cognitive computing is good for their organizations.

According to the study, “From data deluge to intelligent insights: Adopting cognitive computing to unlock value for marketing and sales,” while both CMOs and heads of sales agreed that “customer satisfaction” is the number one value driver for adopting cognitive solutions, practically speaking, many of those surveyed say they aren’t sure their organizations are currently set up to make a successful transition. The study, conducted in cooperation with Oxford Economics, is based on a global survey with 525 CMOs and 389 heads of sales across industries to determine the extent by which marketers and sellers aim to embrace cognitive.

Cognitive computing, such as IBM Watson, is a next-generation technology that can quickly understand and reason vast amounts of structured and unstructured data, like sounds and images, in the same way humans do – by reasoning, learning and interacting to improve accuracy overtime. While traditional analytics can provide data for businesses to draw insights from, cognitive can more easily predict outcomes and turns those insights into actionable recommendations, which can impact real business decisions.

For surveyed CMOs, they expect the real advantage of cognitive lies in two key areas: improved customer experience and financial results, including increased financial yields and improved ability to identify marketing ROI. For sales leaders in the study, it’s all about finally achieving a 360-degree understanding of customers so they may better predict their customers’ needs and improve prospecting, lead strategy, customer service and experience. For example, HSN is using cognitive to help its stories reach the right audience on their preferred channel, which encourages more viewers to become customers and drives HSN’s business growth.

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