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CMO's no longer the 'chief megaphone officer'- Marketers confident in seizing customer experience by 2020, according to report


By Doug Zanger, Americas Editor

April 6, 2016 | 4 min read

The majority of chief marketing officers around the world believe that they will over end-to-end customer experience according to a report conducted for Marketo.

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report, which was completed by almost 500 CMOs and senior marketing executives globally discovered that 86 held the belief, while nearly 90 per cent of marketers said their departments will exercise significant influence over business strategy by 2020 as well, with almost 80 per cent expecting to have the same influence over company technology decisions.

“If you’re still thinking of the CMO as chief megaphone officer, then you’re stuck in the ’90s,” says Jonathan Martin, CMO of Pure Storage who was one contributed to the report. “Today, the primary task of CMOs is to deeply understand customer buying behaviour and intent; deeply understand the context of where someone is in their decision journey; be able to predict what they’re most likely primed to do next; and be ready to influence them at the right moment.”

This is the second year that Marketo has commissioned the survey and the 2016 report, “The Path to 2020: Marketers Seize the Customer Experience,” takes a deep look at how consumers engage with brands today, and the impact it will have on marketers and their activities and strategies through 2020.

"Technology’s rapid evolution allows customers to engage with brands across a myriad of new channels in real time, translating to billions of marketing-driven touch points,” said Sanjay Dholakia, chief marketing officer of San Mateo, California-based Marketo. "With 86 percent of CMOs and other marketing leaders of the mind that they will own the customer experience by 2020, it is essential that organizations maintain a singular, comprehensive view of their customers. This is the key to building enduring customer relationships and ultimately successful brands.”

The report further points out that marketing complexity continues to grow, with more than half believing that rapid technological changes, mobile and the acceleration of possible marketing channels through the Internet of Things (IoT) — resulting in billions of possible interactions — will change the landscape the most by 2020. Interestingly, the marketers feel that innovation in small and no screens will be prevalent with 39 per cent saying that IoT will have the biggest impact in addition to mobile devices/networks (59 per cent) and personalization technologies (45 per cent).

In a warning sign for mass media, the report also indicates that marketers will increasingly interact with consumers through their own channels, driven by personalization and technology, as opposed to through media and advertising. Additionally, the leaders see personalized channels including social media (63 per cent), the Internet (53 per cent), mobile apps (47 per cent) and the mobile web (46 per cent) leading the way.

“Achieving personalisation at scale is the biggest and most important challenge for us to get right,” says Kristin Lemkau CMO of JPMorgan Chase. “So we have to work hard to create the kind of infrastructure that supports personalized marketing that doesn’t feel like an ad or invasion, but feels like a benefit that’s available at the right point of a purchase cycle to acquire it. You’re no longer marketing AT people, you’re influencing them in an environment where they’ve already had a chance to form a view.”

Surveyed marketers also noted that marketing will no longer be just about acquisition and that customer experience will drive brand equity. Customer acquisition is still a strategic goal, but loyalty will be in more focus with 53 per cent feeling that raising customer loyalty and better brand perception, through better experiences, will be a key development.

87 per cent of marketers also believe that their departments will have significant influence over business strategy by 2020 — and 78 per cent expect they will exert the same influence over company technology decisions.

That influence, combined with all of the reports findings, points to a critical consideration for all CMOs and senior marketers, according to Keith Weed, CMO of Unilever.

“The ability to be external- and future-oriented is no longer optional. You’ve got to have a point of view about the future if you’re going to be where it’s headed.”

The survey included responses from 499 CMOs and senior marketing executives worldwide. It was conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and was sponsored by Marketo. More than 50 percent of respondents hold the CMO title or top marketing position. Respondents are located in North America (27 per cent), Europe (30 per cent), Asia-Pacific (36 per cent), and Rest of World (7 per cent). More than 50 per cent of survey respondents (52 per cent) hail from companies with more than $500m in revenue.

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