Report: Customer acquisition marketers' number one concern

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Sixty-seven percent of marketers view customer acquisition as their number one challenge, according to The Kern Organization's 2011 Mid-Year Marketing Trends Study, released Sept. 26. Thirty-eight percent of marketers view customer retention as their number one challenge.

Russell Kern, president and founder of The Kern Organization, an Omnicom Group subsidiary, said he was surprised that customer acquisition topped the list. “I didn't think marketers were turning back to acquisition with such velocity,” he said.

Eighty-four percent of marketers indicate that aligning sales and marketing is a priority for their companies, a trend that Kern said has continued for the past decade and will continue for the foreseeable future.

“We have to solve that issue already,” he said. “This has been a consistent issue. It will always be a concern until marketers really understand the support sales needs from them. Marketers need to get it out of their head that ‘I'm doing marketing' and get it into their heads that they're also doing sales.”

Only one in every three marketers has a mobile strategy or plan in place. “We see this enormous tsunami of mobile coming but nobody is thinking about it first,” Kern said.  

Almost half of the respondents use some form of marketing automation, which has allowed companies to spend less on external agency help. The study found that only 43% of marketers spend one-quarter of the total budget on an external agency.

“Marketers are doing more of their own marketing than going to external agencies,” said Kern. “Automation facilitates more sophisticated campaigns that can be done internally.”  

The Kern study surveyed 400 marketing executives from various verticals in July.

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