Love thy customer, CMOs agree

A recent report by Oracle Marketing Cloud, in collaboration with the Aberdeen Group, provides a perspective on how CMOs are attempting to tie improving the customer experience to ROI.

Based on a survey of marketing practitioners in more than 200 B2B, B2C, and mixed businesses, The CMO Dilemma: Bridging the Gap Between Love and Money examines the perceived tension between enhancing the customer journey and meeting boardroom expectations: “Company shareholders expect the business to provide additional value, and have little patience to wait on the long-term benefits of a strategy…The Customers, on the other hand, expect the business to prioritize their needs above anything else.”

CMOs were more concerned with customers’ access to a wide variety of sources of information, and the ability to generate multi-channel content, than with limitations on budget. Although a big majority of CMOs felt challenged in using data and content to manage the customer journey, brands which leveraged some type of “formal” customer journey management program–rather than responding ad hoc at different touch-points–performed consistently better than brands which did not across all indices–from return on marketing investment, through positive social engagement, to customer win-back rate.

This suggests that managing the customer experience helps satisfy shareholder expectations. Formal programs did, however, also show striking success in driving referral revenue (17.9 percent, contrasted with 5.1 percent for businesses with no formal programs). This, together with positive social media results, is a strong indicator of customer satisfaction.

The report identifies some key elements in maintaining a successful customer journey management program. These include:

  • Streamlined customer data management.
  • The incorporation of customer feedback into decision-making.
  • Relevant and timely omni-channel messaging, centrally controlled.
  • Metrics to measure performance against internal and industry benchmarks.

Marketers, the report suggests, are constrained neither by budget, nor by a lack of understanding of the importance of the customer journey. Many, however, are not yet satisfied with their current ability to use data effectively to design the journey.

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