Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
While today’s omni-channel customers are more connected than ever before, organisations are failing to keep pace with customer expectations for frictionless experiences, a new report found.
The CMO Council study, Empowering the Data-Driven Customer Strategy, released in collaboration with RedPoint Global, revealed that out of 250 marketers surveyed, only 7 per cent were able to deliver real-time, data-driven engagements across both physical and digital touchpoints.
Furthermore, only 5 per cent saw the bottom-line impact of engagements in real time, primarily due to the current processes requiring manual transport of data and intelligence from disconnected systems.
Only 6 per cent of marketers believe they are able to get a complete view of their customer from all available data sources and 7 per cent said they could leverage in-line analytics to drive real-time decision-making within the engagement platform to deliver better experiences.
Meanwhile, just 8 per cent of marketers have been able to implement and onboard systems in an effort to establish a best-of-breed model of technologies and platforms. When it comes to data, alsmot has of marketers surveyed agreed that while they are not lacking data, they are missing the ability to transform data into real-time action.
CMO Council senior vice-president of marketing, Liz Miller, said the report highlighted the gaps between strategy and execution that continues to prevent marketers from creating seamless, real-time engagements with today’s connected customers.
“While the customer wants to see real-time responses and reactions to their behaviors, what we are finding is that marketers are still dealing with complex processes and offline data, which is delaying their access to the intelligence they need to create the next best action with a customer,” she said. “These delays are further increased due to a lack of clear ownership over the customer experience strategy as a whole, with multiple teams and departments battling for customer attention across a growing, fragmented landscape of data and engagement systems.”
In an attempt to provide engagement capabilities, the report showed organisations have willingly adopted a number of new technologies, and the marketing technology stack has continued to grow. This is highlighted by the fact that, in the past five years, 42 per cent of marketers have installed more than 10 individual solutions across marketing, data, analytics or customer engagement technologies, and 9 percent have brought on more than 20 individual tools or solutions.
During that same time, marketers have gone through numerous rounds of “rip and replace,” with 44 per cent of marketers indicating they have spent more than 25 per cent of their marketing budgets to replace existing technologies.
And despite the implementation and discarding of various data and customer experience solutions, only 3 per cent of marketers said they believe they are totally connected and aligned across all systems, with data, metrics and insights flowing seamlessly across all technology platforms.
Time to re-examine the data-driven customer strategy
In order to create truly connected experiences, marketers agreed they need to define a clear owner of the data-driven customer strategy. Of the marketers surveyed, 78 per cent said the CMO should be the catalyst and driver of this strategy. However, only 19 per cent are actually charged with the full burden of developing the customer strategy today, with just over half instead developing customer engagement strategies through individual teams, on either an organised or ad-hoc basis.
When asked specifically about the gap between strategy and execution, marketers point to two key issues: Fractured execution systems and siloed customer data. Other key findings from the study highlighting the degree of the capability gap between strategy and execution include:
“The capability gap between an organisation’s strategy and its ability to execute highlighted by this research has a very direct impact on the ever-growing gap between customer expectations and the experience delivered by brands,” RedPoint Global’s CEO, Dale Renner, said. “To consistently meet customer expectations, brands must be relevant; and to sustain profitable revenue growth, they must be more relevant than competitors.
“This can only be achieved by having the deepest understanding of a customer, making decisions at the cadence of each customer, and then intelligently orchestrating engagement across any touchpoint in the enterprise.”
The study is based on the findings of a survey conducted during the first quarter of 2017, primarily among marketers within fast-moving, consumer-focused industries including finance, retail, CPG, travel and hospitality.