One of the top priorities for CMOs today is to understand and define a more individual consumer experience at a time where brands have been democratized. The digital evolution has shifted the CMO focus away from purely Brand Guardianship, to monetization and engagement across new channels. The availability of technology and new digital channels has enabled greater access to quantitative and qualitative data – that in turn has impacted how marketers do marketing, and what marketing is about.

Adding social to the mix has flipped the tables to put brand relationships in the hands of consumers, making the “Age of You” – where CMOs are starting with people and their needs (selling what people want), as opposed to starting with the product (selling what companies make).

This change in brand marketing and consumer perception has both elevated the CMO role above and beyond that of a General Manager. At the same time, the change has complicated the deliverables for the marketing team, which is now responsible for driving the transformation of companies to become consumer experience-focused and leveraging new channels and data to determine the optimal consumer-brand experience. Delivering above-market growth increasingly hinges on working hand-in-hand with consumers to build winning customer experiences and deeper customer relationships.

In this environment of big data and connectivity, social provides a new, unsolicited, uncensored, and real-time view into the wealth of existing and potential customers’ minds. There are over 2.21 billion active social media accounts today, and of those, most people use social primarily as a way to give others a better sense of who they are and what they care about. This intimate, real-time look into consumers’ lives, ideas, and behaviors presents an unprecedented opportunity for smart marketers to get ahead of the game and understand consumers as individuals with unique needs, emotions, and life interest affinities. And to address them in relevant ways that are contextual and helpful in elevating consumer’s individual brands.

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