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Gaps & Fragmentation Plague Marketers Looking to Deliver Seamless Engagements To Customers, CMO Council Study Finds

Closeup Group Young Coworkers Together Discussing Creative Project During Work Process.Modern Friends Business Meeting Discussion Startup Concept Loft.Female Hand Showing Laptop Screen.Blurred FlaresEven though today’s omnichannel customers are more connected than ever before, many companies are failing to keep pace with their expectations for frictionless experiences, despite the multitude of data, analytics and engagement systems currently in place, according to new research from the CMO Council and RedPoint Global.

The firms’ joint study reveals that only 7 percent of more than 250 marketers surveyed are able to deliver real-time, data-driven engagements across both physical and digital touchpoints. Furthermore, only 5 percent are able to see the bottom-line impact of engagements in real time, primarily due to the current processes requiring manual transport of data and intelligence from disconnected systems.

The study, Empowering the Data-Driven Customer Strategy: Addressing Customer Engagement From the Foundation Up, highlights the gaps between strategy and execution that continue to prevent marketers from creating seamless, real-time engagements with today’s connected customers. In addition, it underscores the growing need for a solid data foundation upon which a customer engagement strategy should be built—one that converts data into actionable intelligence and makes a real-time view of the customer accessible across the enterprise.

“While the customer wants to see real-time responses and reactions to their behaviors, what we are finding is that marketers are still dealing with complex processes and offline data, which is delaying their access to the intelligence they need to create the next best action with a customer,” said Liz Miller, senior vice president of marketing for the CMO Council, in a news release. “These delays are further increased due to a lack of clear ownership over the customer experience strategy as a whole, with multiple teams and departments battling for customer attention across a growing, fragmented landscape of data and engagement systems.”

In an attempt to provide engagement capabilities, organizations have willingly adopted a number of new technologies, and the marketing technology stack has continued to grow. This is highlighted by the fact that, in the past five years, 42 percent of marketers have installed more than 10 individual solutions across marketing, data, analytics or customer engagement technologies, and 9 percent have brought on more than 20 individual tools or solutions.

During that same time, marketers have gone through numerous rounds of “rip and replace,” with 44 percent of marketers indicating that they have spent more than 25 percent of their marketing budgets to replace existing technologies. And despite the implementation and discarding of various data and customer experience solutions, only 3 percent of marketers believe they are totally connected and aligned across all systems, with data, metrics and insights flowing seamlessly across all technology platforms.

In order to create truly connected experiences, marketers need to define a clear owner of the data-driven customer strategy. Of the marketers surveyed, 78 percent agree that the CMO should be the catalyst and driver of this strategy. However, only 19 percent are actually charged with the full burden of developing the customer strategy today, with just over half (51 percent) instead developing customer engagement strategies through individual teams, on either an organized or ad-hoc basis. In addition to the difference between the desired catalyst and the actual leader of the customer strategy, marketers also lack agreement on how this strategy should be converted into action—revealing a gap between strategy and customer engagement execution.

When asked specifically about the gap between strategy and execution, marketers point to two key issues: fractured execution systems and siloed customer data. Other key findings from the study highlighting the degree of the capability gap between strategy and execution include:

  • Only 6 percent of marketers believe they are able to get a complete view of their customer from all available data sources.
  • Just 7 percent of the marketers surveyed are able to leverage in-line analytics to drive real-time decision-making within the engagement platform to deliver better experiences.
  • Only 8 percent of marketers have been able to implement and onboard systems in an effort to establish a best-of-breed model of technologies and platforms.
  • A high number of marketers (43 percent) agree that they are not lacking data; rather, they are missing the ability to transform data into real-time action.

“The capability gap between an organization’s strategy and its ability to execute highlighted by this research has a very direct impact on the ever-growing gap between customer expectations and the experience delivered by brands,” said Dale Renner, CEO of RedPoint Global, in the release. “To consistently meet customer expectations, brands must be relevant; and to sustain profitable revenue growth, they must be more relevant than competitors. This can only be achieved by having the deepest understanding of a customer, making decisions at the cadence of each customer, and then intelligently orchestrating engagement across any touchpoint in the enterprise.”

In addition to the capability gaps cited in the research, marketers identified key roadblocks that are preventing their organizations from implementing a truly data-driven customer strategy:

  • Budget limitations (54 percent)
  • Failure to embrace a customer-centric culture (43 percent)
  • Lack of senior-level support to spark change and advance the customer experience agenda (32 percent)
  • Lack of a solid data foundation upon which a customer data strategy can be built (31 percent)

This study is based on the findings of a survey that was conducted during the first quarter of 2017, primarily among marketers within fast-moving, consumer-focused industries including finance, retail, CPG, travel and hospitality. Of the 263 marketers participating in this study, 51 percent hold the title of chief marketing officer, head of marketing or senior vice president of marketing; 77 percent are with either traditional business-to-consumer businesses or those with a hybrid business-to-business-to-consumer model; and 65 percent of respondents hail from organizations with more than $500 million in annual revenue. It also features qualitative insights from marketing executives associated with brands such as Morgan Stanley, Cox Communications, AT&T and more.

Download the complete report here.

Source: PR Newswire; edited by Richard Carufel

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