“From Stretched to Strengthened,” IBM’s latest Global Chief Marketing Officer Study, interviewed 1,734 CMOs from 19 industries and 64 countries. Topline findings converge on three points:
- The empowered customer is now in control of the business relationship
- Delivering customer value is paramount — and an organization’s behavior is as important as the products and services it provides
- The pressure to be accountable to the business is not just a symptom of hard times, but a permanent shift that requires new approaches, tools and skills.
While 82% of marketing chiefs rely on traditional market research — which delivers information about consumers in the aggregate — comparatively few “are exploiting the full power of the digital grapevine,” with only 26% regularly tracking blogs, 42% tracking third-party reviews and only 48% tracking consumer reviews.[more]
Four major priorities concern CMOs: the data explosion, social media, proliferation of channels and devices and shifting consumer demographics. Providing numbers that show an ROI for marketing is a close fifth, with 63% believing this will be the most important measure of success in the next three to five years, but only 44% prepared to manage the process.
IBM warns that a majority of CMOs are missing the personal touch, by paying more attention to markets than individuals and “peddling, not partnering,” and favoring data over relationships. The researchers offer three key areas for improvement: understand and deliver value to empowered customers; create lasting relationships with those customers; measure marketing’s contribution to the business in relevant, quantifiable terms.
While more than half of the interviewees are confident their organization’s corporate character is understood in the marketplace, just 20% believe their employees are fully on board, and 75% believe marketing should oversee brand reputation inside and outside the enterprise.
Conclusions on how to “Get fit for the future” include:
- Create value for customers as individuals
- Reprioritize investments to analyze digital channels to access customers’ views and use advanced analytics to recognize preferences and trends across every touch point
- Work with IT to assess potential data and infrastructure exposures, employ tools to secure customer data and update privacy policies to address customers’ concerns
- Capitalize on new digital channels to stimulate customer conversations and new relationships; use tangible incentives to attract followers.
“Marketing people will need unique skills in the near future. They’ll need to be capable of integrating marketing and IT – like footballers who can kick with both feet,” concludes Jeroen de Punder, CMO of Ricoh Netherlands.