Customer experience has emerged as the new frontier for IT, sales, marketing and operations. Digital touch points create a myriad of new customer insights but how to use this data and overcome organisational siloes remains unclear.
A new report by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, sponsored by Marketo, interviewed thought leaders, industry experts, and chief marketing executives to discover how leading-edge marketing organisations are dealing with these challenges.
Among the key findings was the acknowledgment that companies make greater efforts to align customer service with brand management. Thirteen percent of respondents reported a greater alignment of positive social media mentions than in the previous year. A further 11% saw greater relevance for annual company revenue. The number of respondents that recognised the up- and cross sell opportunities that stem from this new convergence grew by 8%.
At the same time, marketing faces higher expectations than ever from management to lead the move to customer excellence in a number of strategic areas. One quarter of respondents said the top increased expectation was for marketing to lead the customer experience functionally across all touch points. Recruitment and retention of talent within the marketing function was the second highest rated area with 14%, and 12% expected marketing to spearhead a culture of change and company-wide innovation.
And when it comes to information technology, 12% asked marketing to develop an effective working relationship with your Chief Information Officer (CIO) to whatever level possible; and 10% saw the marketing department as custodians of all internal and external data.
Are we asking too much from marketing?
Not there was ever an easy time to work in marketing, but certainly the bar has been raised once again. Digital technologies pose a challenge and opportunity like no other to gain a deeper understanding of customer needs, personalise and augment the brand experience. But can marketing be expected to manage the entire customer experience when many of the post-sale touch points are managed by completely different personnel with their own reporting lines? And while skilled in more traditional methods of data management such as CRM systems, many marketers need to acquire a whole raft of new technical skills to drive digitization from end to end.
In contrast, we have seen the IT department taking ownership of digital initiatives including e-commerce, mobile and other digital customer channels, but often without the marketing department’s understanding of market segmentation and messaging. This becomes particularly evident in the area of content marketing, where of course Marketo positions itself.
The appointment of Chief Digital Officers and similar roles is meant to bridge the two worlds of the CMO and the CIO. If this ultimately helps overcome the organisational boundaries that today hamper digital success in many enterprises, or creates further siloes, remains to be seen.