Data and analytics leader Tehmina Shah is a consultant and entrepreneur advising business and technology leaders on their strategy. Prior to this she was the Director of Data Science at Bell and has held senior roles at companies including CIBC and HSBC.
In an interview with Peter Stojanovic, Tehmina discusses innovation in marketing and some of the tools and technologies that have helped the marketing function succeed within her organization.
Innovation and new capabilities
Tehmina was asked what B2B innovation she would recommend most to other marketing leaders. Her response was that there isn’t just one innovation or new capability marketers need to put to use. “It’s really an orchestration of a lot of different capabilities that have developed immensely”, she argued.
Drawing from a data leader’s perspective, she outlined some of the key technologies, while stating that technologies have evolved “rapidly”. Her view is that marketers need to use a combination of cloud, data and analytical technologies. When combined together, she believes that these capabilities can be “beautifully orchestrated for the customer experience”. This results in better engagement with the customer and knowing what their needs are.
Paired with presentation of the right product, right messaging and the right understanding of their context – Tehmina thinks this is the stage where marketers are at today.
How we use data
She first focuses on data technology when considering the capabilities. Her argument was that our thought processes towards the data we could use has changed significantly. “There is a lot more data that is available to us, that is our first party data that we have in our organization today”, she said. She explored the different examples of first party data including financial data, customer data and product systems data.
She highlighted that, over the years, organizations have been struggling with how to leverage the data they have at hand. On the other hand, she argued that data technologies have come a long way. “You don’t necessarily need to embark on four-year, five-year journeys just to ingest data”, she commented. Nowadays, with the evolution of technology, there is a lot more data accessible to data leaders. Tehmina considers this a huge innovation when comparing this to how things were done ten years back.
She wants marketers to consider the following questions: What data do we consider? What data do we have access to in order to make better decisions? Overall, she wants marketers to contemplate how they can broaden their thinking about what data they could use for marketing purposes.
Data democratization, CMO and CIO metrics
Aligning different stakeholders around common metrics and common performance indicators is a role Tehmina suggests data teams can play. “I definitely see the role of CMO evolving”, she stated. She went on to explain that in her view, marketing does not exist to run campaigns, it exists to grow revenue for the organization. Both of these objectives, according to Tehmina, are closely tied to where the business needs to go.
She asked: “How do you know that your strategy is working well?” and “How do you tie that strategy to your performance, through your KPIs, your metrics?”.
Aligning CMO and CIO metrics are considered important and are key to bringing marketing to the table as a “strategic partner” and growing the business. She later added that sales metrics and marketing metrics in order to transform marketing into more of a strategic function.