CMO Council: Nearly Half of Marketers Say Their Customer Experience Fails


CMO Council / 2018 State of Engagement report

What keeps chief marketing officers up at night? According to new research from the CMO Council, 76% believe their jobs are on the line if their customer engagement isn’t sufficient and they aren’t satisfying consumers. And while customer satisfaction scores are the key to measuring that, only 10% say they’re able to adequately measure the financial impact of their efforts.

The need to compete on the basis of customer experience is heightening the anxiety and job security risks of chief marketing officers, who admit they are struggling to keep up with new digitally-driven ways to engage, satisfy and enrich the experience of more mobile, savvy and fickle customers.

According to a new study from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, chief marketers know that their careers rise or fall based on their customer experience strategies. Nearly half of the respondents in the CMO Council worry they’ll be fired if their big bets on technology and the marketing tech stack fail to provide a unified view of the customer that they can act on.

Connecting the Dots

It’s all detailed in the CMO Council’s new report, “The State of Engagement: Bridging the Customer Journey Across Every Last Mile,” which points out a key discrepancy and challenge. While CEOs and CFOs measure the success of customer experience initiatives on bottom-line improvements like overall revenue growth and increases in individual sales, only 10% of their CMO members surveyed are able to tie customer experiences back to these business goals in real time.

Most (80%) of respondents said they are unable to (or can only sometimes) connect channels of engagement back to business impact while an additional 10% are only able to measure against business goals using time-consuming, manual processes that only involve select channels.

Asked to rate the state of their organization’s customer experience, 47% said they are failing to deliver on the customer expectation of personalization and contextual engagements:

CMO Council / 2018 State of Engagement report

The marketers surveyed expressed a mixed view of the state of customer engagement, with nearly half they are failing to deliver on the customer expectation of personalization and contextual engagements across the customer journey.

Marketers’ ROI Challenge

When asked if they could tie financial impact to specific channels of engagement, 41% said that systems fail to connect or deliver a unified view of the customer experience, while 33% said they “struggle’ to tie channels to financial impact—a rise from 22% of respondents in last year’s survey.

CMO Council / 2018 State of Engagement report

That means, looking across all their customer touchpoints, they are unable to identify which one(s) have done the most to elevate (or hinder) the execution of the CX (customer experience) strategy.

Fueled by the increasing demand for individualized experiences from a connected customer, most have adopted a new outlook of advancing with the tools on hand while taking on the role of “chief silo-buster.”

Need For Real-Time, Connected View

“CMOs have picked up the mantle of owning the development and execution of the customer experience strategy and are fully aware that their jobs depend on the success of these initiatives,” acknowledged Liz Miller, SVP of Marketing for the CMO Council.

“But many are rightfully questioning the patchwork assembly of point solutions that have been amassed in the marketing technology stack. Marketers want to get going—connecting systems and busting silos to put the customer’s expectations above the drama being caused by fragmented tools that fail to deliver results for the business.”

Defining Customer Experience Success

Other findings in the report include:

• Marketers believe they need systems that leverage real-time data to deliver relevant, contextual experiences, ranking this as the No. 1 requirement for customer experience success.
• The second most critical requirement is an organization-wide single view of the customer to ensure uniform and consistent engagement.
• 51% hope that with new technology and/or talent, a single view of the customer could be possible
• 26% struggle to see a path forward, questioning whether a single view is realistic and attainable for the organization.


A Changing Landscape

Some of the issues explored in the report:

• How customer experience strategies have evolved in the past 12 months
• How technology purchase intentions compare between the buying boom of 2012–2017 and today’s model of digital transformation goals
• Requirements for successful and consistent delivery of customer experience strategies
• How marketers define “real time” and which attributes are being applied to segmentation strategies
• Drivers for advancement and innovation in today’s customer experience programs
• Measures and metrics that organizations will use to define success
• Areas of focus and attention in the coming year to advance the CX strategy


The findings of the study are based on an online audit of 211 senior marketing executives in primarily consumer-facing industries, including retail, consumer products, food and beverage, retail banking, consumer insurance, and travel and hospitality. Some 70% of respondents have a title of CMO, general manager of marketing or senior vice president of marketing, while 57% hail from organizations with annual revenues of more than $1 billion.

“CMOs who prioritize capabilities that provide a single point of control over their data and engagement flows are able to deliver relevant and personalized customer experiences that drive higher revenue, coupled with lower interaction costs,” said John Nash, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer at RedPoint Global, which partnered on the report, which will be discssed in a webcast, “The State of Engagement: Bridging the Customer Journey Across Every Last Mile,” on May 1, 2018, at 10am PT/1pm ET.

See more in the infographic below:

CMO Council state of engagement 2018 report - infographic