Understanding the customer and improving the customer experience are high on the marketing agenda this year, according to IBM’s recently-released “State of Marketing” [download page] report. According to the study, acquiring new customers (42%), retaining existing customers and improving loyalty and satisfaction (36%), and creating consistent, relevant and positive customer experiences across channels (34%) are among the top challenges being faced by marketers today. Certain high-performers, dubbed “leading marketers” by IBM, are going about their business differently from their peers, taking a tech-infused approach and demonstrating a confidence in their organizational excellence.
IBM defines its “leading marketers,” who represent 20% of the survey sample, as “leaders proactively influencing the customer experience across channels and using marketing technologies.” These leading marketers are more likely than their peers to hail from companies that boast 3-year growth in gross profits, net incomes, and stock prices. They’re also more likely to believe their organizations are effectively performing across the 4Ps: products and services (89% rating a 4 or 5 on a 5-point scale, compared to 54% of all other marketers); promotion (83% vs. 64%); place (80% vs. 51%); and price (77% vs. 43%).
So what are they doing differently? Broadly speaking, the study notes that the typical marketing leader “knows customer context and integrates accordingly,” “acts on insights – systematically,” and “takes a broader view of the customer experience.”
Each of those attributes has its own set of actions. Some of the biggest discrepancies between “leading marketers” and their peers are found in the following:
- Using optimization technology across all channels (45% vs. 8%);
- Adjusting real-time offers based on context (39% vs. 15%);
- Applying advanced analytics to determine media spend (69% vs. 31%); and
- Tracking customer lifetime value (32% vs. 16%).
Leading marketers not only are integrating their channels more than their peers, they’re looking to do so at a greater level, integrating the digital marketing suite and the online and offline experiences. Using analytics to better understand their customers, they leverage a broader range of customer-focused metrics and influence service interactions with customers more than their peers.
For the typical marketer to achieve “leading marketer” status, IBM recommends a series of actions, including determining an “anchor technology platform” that can be used to integrate various channels, refining the use of metrics to provide a more holistic view of the customer, and understanding the different ways in which the customer engages with the brand.
About the Data: The data is based on a survey of more than 500 marketing professionals from around the world. 52% are from companies with at least 5,000 employees, and 52% are based in North America.