While digital marketing technologies and engagement channels multiply, many marketers remain concerned that they are still not delivering what customers want most: a seamless, frictionless and individualized buying and problem-solving experience.
According to new research from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and SAP Hybris, more than a third of marketers (39 percent) believe their technology investments have met expectations in some select areas, such as measurement and customer interaction. But they appear to be falling short when it comes to connecting content, commerce, conversation and campaigns with back-end operational realities, supply chain logistics and organizational capabilities that will ultimately impact customer experience.
The study, entitled "Context, Commerce and Customer: Best Practices to Exceed Expectations," highlights a limited effort to align and integrate marketing and commerce technologies, but data sourcing and unification is limited to frontline or field marketing groups only.
Just over half of respondents (55 percent) are working on systems to extend marketing's view of the customer to include insights from all impact and interaction points in the customer journey. However, 17 percent are not convinced this fully integrated, live data ecosystem view via dashboards is possible in their organizations.
"With the advancement of marketing technologies and tools in recent years, marketers have benefitted from greater transparency into the measurement of traditional marketing practices. And while this has helped marketers somewhat, it still falls short of providing a holistic, real-time view of the customer and their interactions at every step of the journey," stated Liz Miller, Senior Vice President of Marketing for the CMO Council.
"The new challenge will be to extend the processes and platforms that power the customer experience beyond the comfortable walls of marketing. This will be the point at which customer experience stops being a marketing campaign and becomes a focus of a business and a true competitive advantage."
Key to this experience evolution will be a shift in organizational thinking around data and the intelligence it delivers. According to executive respondents, the majority of data being collected and used by marketing and commerce teams is typically extracted from marketing or sales channels. Among the top sources of data and intelligence are:
What seems to be needed is more effective sharing and use of data and intelligence. But marketers admit that some data critical to understanding the customer's entire journey and engagement with a brand is trapped in organizational silos and harder to aggregate and reach. Among those areas of customer intelligence that need to be better harnessed and also represent those sources least accessed today are:
"This study points to a truly exciting time for marketers, as they advance their pools of intelligence from being largely marketing-focused into those that are entirely customer-focused," commented Jamie Anderson, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at SAP Hybris.
"This demands that the entire organization—from HR to operations and the supply chain—be connected and aligned around a live view of the customer as an individual… a view that takes the past, present and future state of that individual into context in real-time."
Other key findings include:
The study is based on insights from a survey of 170 global marketing leaders, fielded in the first half of 2016. Of the respondents, 47 percent hold a title of Chief Marketing Officer, Head of Marketing or Senior Vice President of Marketing or Commerce, with 27 percent overseeing complex global marketing teams of more than 100 people.
Some 39 percent of respondents hail from large enterprises with more than $1 billion in revenue, with 42 percent hailing from business-to-business organizations, 21 percent from business-to-consumer companies and 37 percent from hybrid organizations (business-to-business-to-consumer model).