IBM recently released its first-ever Global Chief marketing Officer Study, the results of over 1,700 face to face interviews with CMOs. The results of this study revealed that the majority of CMOs are agreed on the three areas of marketing that most need improvement: “understand and deliver value to empowered customers, create lasting relationships with those customers, and measure marketing’s contribution to the business in relevant quantifiable terms.”

We couldn’t agree more that an increased focus on the customer relationship will be critical to CMO success, as well as the success of the organization at large. The following are a few ways in which we see customer experience filling the gap in current marketing capabilities.

Understand and deliver value to empowered customers

Most CMOs, according to the IBM study, are still focusing on traditional information sources – market research, corporate strategy, and competitive benchmarking. However, IBM predicts customer analytics should be viewed as a key source in decision making. It is of critical importance for CMOs to have the ability to see customers as individuals versus the aggregate view offered from traditional sources.

The good news is that 81% of CMOs in the study reported plans to deploy new technologies that will help them improve their capabilities around customer analytics. We recommend a closed-loop customer feedback platform. This type of tool will allow leaders to:

  1. Take immediate action on individual customer feedback
  2. Use advanced analytics to gain insight into what matters most to customers, information that is key in designing a better customer experience

Foster lasting connections

67% of CMOs in the study listed enhancing customer loyalty and advocacy as a top priority “for managing the shift toward digital technologies.” This involves creating engaging online experiences, focusing on the long-term relationship versus the short-term transaction, collaborating with customers on product development, and building a “corporate character” within their company.

Cultural alignment is key in getting the customer experience right and CMOs are recognizing their new role in helping to instill the corporate character in employees. Marketing needs employees who understand the corporate brand and are working to bring that brand to life for the marketplace. Yet 57% of CMOs admit they still need to do significant work in this area. In our research we’ve identified Seven Practices of a Customer-Centric Organization, each of these practices is vital in aligning employees a customer experience focus.

Measuring Marketing’s contribution to the business

Marketing ROI and the customer experience are predicted to be the top two most important gauges of marketing over the next 3-5 years. It’s no surprise then that 92% of CMOs reported plans to increase the use of partnerships in the area of customer and data analytics. CMOs are aware that they will need to become more financially accountable and are preparing for this new future by growing their sphere of influence throughout the organization.

While many CMOs are accountable for promotion, fewer have control over the other three P’s. Leading efforts around developing a customer experience strategy is one way for marketing to grow their influence over product, price, and place. Understanding the customer journey and measuring how well the organization is delivering at each touchpoint may be beyond the scope of a traditional marketing role, but it will certainly define the successful CMOs of the future.

How do you see marketing and customer experience work evolving in the future?