Sean Callahan On Why CMOs Will Be Next Generation's Great CEOs

Sean Callahan was previously a marketing director at Bizo and an editor at Crain Communications. With Russell Glass, he co-wrote “The Big Data-Driven Business: How to Use Big Data to Win Customers, Beat Competitors and Boost Profits.” Hear him speak at INmarket on The Founder’s Perspective: The Past And Future Of B2B Marketing Technology (July 8 in San Francisco).

6s: What is your background? Describe what you do as senior manager of content marketing at LinkedIn.

SC: I have a reporting background. I wrote for a newspaper in Chicago. I was an editor at BtoB magazine at Crain Communications. I joined Bizo in 2012 in a new role for me as a content marketer. When Bizo was acquired by LinkedIn, I moved over to LinkedIn in a similar job, where I really love my role writing for the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog, writing ebooks and creating other content to help B2B marketers do their jobs better.

6s: Can you share with us a few key takeaways/themes from your book, The Big Data-Driven Business?

SC: The book, which I co-wrote with Russell Glass, has a few main themes. First, data-driven, customer focused business will be the winners of the future – in fact, they’re winning right now. Second, the availability of data is helping marketers serve customers better. Third, because of its access to data, the marketing department has a clear window into customer needs and wants. And finally, because of their knowledge of the customer, CMOs will be among the great CEOs of the next generation.

6s: How, in your opinion, are big data and data-driven principles changing B2B marketing?

SC: They’re making it better. From the marketer side, data enables marketers to target the right audiences – the people who are likely to be interested in their products – at scale. Data also helps marketers understand what’s working and what’s not, so they can kill what isn’t working and boost investment in what is. From the B2B buyer side, data, when used properly, should help ensure that they’re not being bombarded with irrelevant messages.

6s: What are today’s biggest marketing pain points that you see as fixable tomorrow with data?

SC: A huge pain point for B2B marketers is the 95 percent of website visitors who don’t share an email address. Couple that with the fact that of the 5 percent who do convert, only 20 percent of them are opening a marketer’s emails. So doing that math, that’s just 1 percent of website visitors who most marketers are able to continue talking with. That’s a huge pain point. Data will help this by enabling marketers to use display and social advertising to keep the conversation going with these visitors who have clearly expressed an interest by visiting the corporate website in the first place.

6s: How is data influencing what’s possible for content marketers?

SC: If they’re using data properly, content marketers can see, very quickly, what’s working and what’s not. At one end of the data and metrics spectrum, content marketers can see what content is attracting attention. At the other end of the data and metrics spectrum, which is arguably the more important one, marketers can see what content is leading to revenue.

Interested in learning more? Don’t miss @sean_f_callahan speaking at INmarket on The Founder’s Perspective: The Past And Future Of B2B Marketing Technology (July 8, 2015 at 1:55 pm PT).

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