CMO Council releases Customer Affinity study

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The Chief Marketing Officer Council released a report today entitled “Profitability from Customer Affinity.” The report, which took nine months to develop, lays out a Customer Affinity Index measuring how leading companies stack up in terms of customer equity and intention to do business.

The report focuses namely on the b-to-b technology sector.

“We took this on first because we feel this is the most complex multilevel and multi-channel aspect of marketing. It has so many variables and complexities,” said Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO council.

According to Neale-May, the CMO surveyed 700-800 IT buyers as well as academics, channel representatives, customer service executives, marketers and vendors.

The study uncovers a disconnect between vendors and customers. According to the study, “56% percent of vendors think they're ‘extremely customer-centric,' but only 12% of customers agree.”

In addition, Neale-May said that 30% of the marketers surveyed have no customer interaction and no direct relationship with the customer.

“What companies don't realize is how much customers want to be involved in this process,” he said. “They want to co-innovate, collaborate, see product roadmaps and understand where the technology is going.”

The study was conducted in order to promote the importance of customer affinity.

“As marketers we have to be measuring more than our campaigns,” Neale-May said. “We've got to be delving into all things that are likely to impact customer affinity and strengthen marketing's position in an organization.”

According to Neale-May, the survey says the direct marketing industry is fourth out of the 12 top areas of marketing dollar allocation, just behind strategy and branding, events and trade shows, and operations.

“The DM community is going to be well-positioned in 2008,” he said. “All the data supports the fact that DM has a real value proposition.”

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