Report: CMOs struggling to deliver omni-channel customer alignment

New CMO Council report finds a poor understanding of the connected customer journey across all touchpoints is hindering omni-channel experience

Poor understanding of the connected customer journey across all touchpoints and data utilisation woes means CMOs continue to struggle to deliver on the promise of omni-channel alignment across digital and physical worlds, a new report claims.

According to the latest CMO Council report, Connected Interaction to Power Brand Attraction, 49 per cent of marketers surveyed see alignment between physical and digital as selective at best, with many remaining totally disconnected. Only 6 per cent claim to have fully aligned and integrated digital and physical touchpoints and experiences.

In addition, while digital engagement continues to dominate discussions and investment around customer experience, 38 per cent of respondents said they’d delivered mixed results to date. One-third are still in pilot for the majority of their digital experiences, and only 18 per cent suggested their efforts were meeting or exceeding expectations.

When asked about top digital experience goals for 2017, 42 per cent of said they planned to better integrate campaigns into a comprehensive and connected customer experience, and 37 per cent are looking to address the digital and physical connection gap. Twenty-nine percent also plan on investing in more technologies to manage data, as well as talent to help better utilise marketing technology stacks.

For CMO Council senior vice-president of marketing, Liz Miller, one of the biggest challenges for marketers coming into the New Year is understanding the connected customer experience across all touchpoints and how to best interact on a more personal, content-rich level.

“Savvy CMOs don't see digital as a destination for transformation but instead see the digital experience as a constantly moving evolution for both engagements and operations,” she commented off the back of the release of the report. “The year ahead will represent a real turning point in the customer experience as marketers plan to turn their sights toward connecting, streamlining and measuring the entire journey.”

The report also asked respondents about how the shift to digital experiences has most changed how their organisation engages with customers and prospects. Sixty per cent of marketers surveyed believed digital had altered content strategy as well as heightened the need for more content types, and 44 per cent agreed digital had exacerbated the need for aggregated data pulled from across the organisation. One-third said digital had made managing how and where customers want to engage, learn and transact incredibly complex and difficult to keep up with.

Yet despite this need for more holistic engagement strategies, top areas of budget allocation for 2017 remained highly campaign centric and included metrics and analytics to measure campaign performance (48 per cent), social media for advertising and engagement campaigns (47 per cent) and digital advertising (33 per cent).

Many are also finding data utilisation a massive issue. For instance, 29 per cent said data is a metrics driver but they’re struggling to apply data to personalisation initiatives, and 27 per cent admitted to more collection than action. Just shy of one-quarter said they’re on the path to a view of the customer.

The latest CMO Council report was based on an online survey of 198 senior global marketing executives fielded in the second half of 2016, 38 per cent of respondents have titles of CMO, senior vice-president of marketing or head of marketing.

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