The 2011 IBM CMO study
revealed that improving loyalty and brand advocacy is the leading priority for 2/3 CMOs globally. The question is how to develop authentic relationships between a brand and its customers that address this priority. Our experience suggests that the process is not simple, requiring insights and interaction throughout the entire customer life cycle and across the entire value chain. Doing this requires the right data strategy to provide the right insight in a timely manner. Despite the loyalty/advocacy imperative, only 31% of CMOs in Australia and New Zealand use customer data to develop a bond with customers and convert them to advocates post purchase.
Part of building authentic relationships is ensuring the customer's point of view is considered across the organisation. With CMOs usually being the 'customers voice' within the enterprise, there is a significant opportunity for marketing to add value widely. However, our study shows that CMOs have a unbalanced influence across the 4 P's (Price, Place, Product & Promotion) with 80% of their influence focused on Promotions. Without being able to effectively influence beyond that, it can be difficult to ensure the customer is considered, resulting in lost opportunities to build loyalty and advocacy. In order to achieve this, CMOs must strive to develop a sound knowledge of how their customers behave and relate to their products and each other across the engagement lifecycle and across multiple channels. By providing this insight to other areas of the business, marketing can expand it's influence and this value it brings to the organisation.
Given today's digital imperative, any customer engagement is multi-channel. Without the development of a longer term multi-channel strategy, significant effort may be wasted developing ties that do not build lasting value. New channels should not be the focus of their own engagement strategies however, and instead should be integrated with the entire marketing-mix to ensure the cohesion of messages and experience.
With customers being exposed to the organisation across multiple channels, CMOs have the opportunity to ensure their teams are agile enough to communicate across each. For example, Mobile is a channel that organisations are embracing to interact with customers. As Matt English
highlighted in his recent blog post
, 59% of consumers mobile activity is dedicated to the web, social networking or apps, while only 27% was for actual telephony. This provides significant evidence of the importance of mobile for consumers to connect both with each other and with organisations products and brands. However it is up to CMOs to make sure this is done in context of a cross-channel and cross-technology strategy.
It can therefore be seen that organisations must engage with consumers both offline and through online communities of interest to develop a unified brand personality. After all, consumers do not segment their lives based on offline (personal) or digital interaction, so why should our organisations?