The Driving Business Growth Series examines the fundamental shift in power from brand to customer. Based on research conducted in partnership with Google, the briefs explore fundamental questions about what is necessary to thrive in today’s marketplace, as well as how marketing organizations are preparing for the future.
Primary research included a survey conducted in the first quarter of 2017, with 514 total responses. The online sample was comprised of marketing executives who qualified for the sample based on revenue, sector, geography and seniority. All respondents were at the manager level or higher at organizations with more than $250M in 2016 revenues.
Leaders vs. the Mainstream
To gain a perspective on where marketing is today and where it’s headed, respondents were divided into two groups based on performance. Leading companies significantly exceeded their top 2016 business goal and comprise roughly one-fourth of the sample. The remaining seventy-five percent are designated the mainstream for comparison.
Throughout the research, the differences between these groups are significant and educational; leaders are consistently further along in building organizations that are data-driven, focused on larger business goals and committed to customer experience as a path to growth.
These companies offer guidance and inspiration for marketers as they work to answer the big questions that will define their future.
Measurement and Growth
- Leading companies are shifting their focus from short-term goals to long-term customer value.
- To understand and maximize that value, leaders recognize first-party data as a strategic asset and are investing in its quality and volume.
- Addressing the whole customer journey is reflected in how leaders structure the marketing organization and budgets. They are more likely to have end-to-end teams, merge their online and offline media planning and to feel that marketing should own all customer experiences.
- The need for faster decision making is driving the use of proxies for hard to establish metrics. This is part of a larger effort to connect marketing investments with business outcomes.
- Leading brands are experimental. They go beyond optimization to exploring strategic questions and the challenges and opportunities of emerging trends. Today, central areas of inquiry are omni-channel experience and mobile journey optimization.
An Audience of Individuals
- The extraordinary shift of power from brand to consumer is driving new priorities in personalization and its ability to affect the customer journey.
- The industry has reached a consensus that there is a direct connection between brands’ financial growth and the ability to anticipate and assist customers along their journey.
- Leading marketing organizations differentiate themselves with an emphasis on investment in the capabilities and technologies necessary to understand and act on customer data. Specifically, leaders are focused on first-party data and automation.
- Leaders see machine learning as essential to increasing the efficacy of personalization.
- Technology opens the door to higher margins based on relationship marketing that emphasizes value, treats the best customers accordingly and encourages retention.
Local and the Customer Journey
- Virtually all organizations have come to believe that their customer experience must reflect the entire customer journey. The capability to understanding the individual’s needs and provide assistance wherever, whenever and however they require it is seen as critical to growth.
- Team structures at leading companies are being designed to solve for the end-to-end journey across devices and channels.
- Leading companies have moved to merged media budgets, reflecting the blended experience of consumers and the remit of omni-channel marketing.
- Executive leadership is catching up with the modern customer. Leading organizations say that their C-suite is following the right KPIs to understand the impact of mobile and digital.
- Leading marketers are actively working to extend their capability to understand and affect the varied customer journey. Roughly half are currently investing in experiments that test omni-channel experiences and technologies that connect digital with offline.
Leading in Mobile Customer Experience
- Today’s most successful marketing organizations have done a better job of internalizing the reality and implications of a customer experience led model.
- Leaders are moving away from channel-centric teams, instead designing them to address the whole of the customer journey.
- The mobile customer experience is at the center of strategy and investment for leading companies.
- Other areas of investment that differentiate leaders include first-party data, strategic experimentation and anything that helps make customer experience faster/easier.
- Proving return on investment remains the main barrier to investment in personalizing experience, but those companies who have already made the leap overwhelmingly agree that it has boosted profitability.
The Driving Business Growth Series, as well as all of Econsultancy’s research and best practice content, is available via subscription.