Well, you can’t, but natural language processing (NLP) can get you pretty close. NLP helps machines “read” text by simulating the human ability to understand language. Social sentiment tracking relies heavily on this technology. At Edelman Intelligence, we leverage NLP software as one of several tools to help us identify patterns that emerge in media and social conversations. We analyze and study these patterns to reveal industry themes and emerging trends that can otherwise be missed.
We recently applied this methodology and analysis to get inside the minds of today’s CMOs. Using NLP, we analyzed over 182 interviews with 56 leading global CMOs to shine a light on what they are thinking about the most.
Key findings from our analysis include:
- CMO’s minds are almost equally occupied with Marketing Industry Evolution, Technology and Digital Communications, Internal Collaboration with Colleagues, and Customer Centricity.
- Technology and Digital Communications are central and top-of-mind for CMOs.
- Collaboration with Agencies and Internal Collaboration are closely interlinked topics, suggesting that agencies are true partners and extensions of internal teams.
- Customer Centricity and Industry Evolution are widely spread throughout the mapping, indicating that data integration is fundamentally changing the industry, and that listening to and working closely with consumers is growing ever more important in the digital and social media age.
Overall, these topics that stem from CMO conversations can be categorized into three broad categories:
1. Data Ecosystem occupies 41% of CMO mindshare and revolves around themes of Industry Evolution, Big Data, and Customer Centricity, surfacing interest in the life cycle of a wide spectrum of data, from data acquisition and analysis, to the application of data and measurement.
2. Communication Management represents 38% of conversations and encompasses Social Media, Online Advertising and Technology, and Digital. This covers a brand or company’s efforts to communicate with consumers, from digital and social media, to traditional ads and innovative technologies.
3. Internal & External Collaboration is evident in 21% of CMO conversations, covering efforts to promote teamwork, collaboration, and communication, both between teams and departments within a brand, and with a brand’s agency partners.
In a world where you can measure almost anything, today’s CMO is expected to understand how to use complex data and the latest technology to both inform decision-making and drive profits. It should come as no surprise, then, that Data and Communication are evident in almost 80% of CMO conversations, supporting the increasing relevance of data and measurement as being core to today’s CMO.
So, while we can’t read their minds, we can begin to understand their pain points and what keeps them up at night. The good news is, data should make operating a business easier. Augmented by technology like NLP, we can identify themes and emerging trends as they happen and use that data to create actionable insight that informs and drives the future of the business.
Natalie Seidman is Managing Director of Edelman Intelligence US.