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CMOs Express Greater Worries About Omnichannel Weakness

Marketers' ability to engage connected consumers continues to lag, according to a survey by the CMO Council.

Only 7 percent of more than 250 marketers surveyed by the CMO Council confidently say they are able to deliver real-time, data-driven engagements across both physical and digital touchpoints, suggesting that years of consumers expectations of omnichannel services remain unanswered.

The reason for the lag between consumers’ demands and marketers’ online/offline capabilities appears to reflect the lack of available data showing what works and what doesn’t.

The CMO Council/ RedPoint Global survey found that only 5 percent are able to see the “bottom-line impact of engagements in real time, primarily due to the current processes requiring manual transport of data and intelligence from disconnected systems,” the study said.

The report, Empowering the Data-Driven Customer Strategy: Addressing Customer Engagement From the Foundation Up, points to a wide gulf between strategy and execution in terms of creating “seamless, real-time engagements with today’s connected customers.”

In a larger sense, the problem comes down to the perennial challenge of turning “Big Data” into actionable strategies.

“While the customer wants to see real-time responses and reactions to their behaviors, what we are finding is that marketers are still dealing with complex processes and offline data, which is delaying their access to the intelligence they need to create the next best action with a customer,” explained Liz Miller, SVP of Marketing for the CMO Council.

“These delays are further increased due to a lack of clear ownership over the customer experience strategy as a whole, with multiple teams and departments battling for customer attention across a growing, fragmented landscape of data and engagement systems,” Miller added.

Signs of Progress

While the capabilities around omnichannel have fallen short, it’s not for lack of trying. The CMO Council survey does paint a picture of marketers attempting to implement in-store technologies to meet the mobile and Internet of Things connections consumers are attached to.

Over the past five years, 42 percent of marketers have installed more than 10 individual solutions across marketing, data, analytics or customer engagement technologies, and 9 percent have brought on more than 20 individual tools or solutions.

However, at the same time, marketers have gone through numerous rounds of “rip and replace,” with 44 percent of marketers indicating that they have spent more than 25 percent of their marketing budgets to replace existing technologies.

As a result of the stop and start deployments, a mere 3 percent of marketers say they are “totally connected and aligned across all systems,” with data, metrics and insights flowing seamlessly across all technology platforms.

Its Up To The CMO

When it comes to mapping the path for omnichannel, it’s clear that the ball is squarely in the CMOs’ court.

About 78 percent of respondents says  that the CMO should be the catalyst and driver of omnichannel programs. But the disconnects throughout the survey also show that just 19 percent of CMOs are actually charged with the full burden of developing the customer tech strategy today.

Secondly, 51 percent of CMOs are charting omnichannel strategies on an ad-hoc basis.

“In addition to the difference between the desired catalyst and the actual leader of the customer strategy, marketers also lack agreement on how this strategy should be converted into action—revealing a gap between strategy and customer engagement execution,” the study said.

Among the other key findings of the study:

  • Only 6 percent of marketers believe they are able to get a complete view of their customer from all available data sources.
  • Just 7 percent of the marketers surveyed are able to leverage in-line analytics to drive real-time decision-making within the engagement platform to deliver better experiences.
  • Only 8 percent of marketers have been able to implement and onboard systems in an effort to establish a best-of-breed model of technologies and platforms.
  • A high number of marketers (43 percent) agree that they are not lacking data; rather, they are missing the ability to transform data into real-time action.

“The capability gap between an organization’s strategy and its ability to execute highlighted by this research has a very direct impact on the ever-growing gap between customer expectations and the experience delivered by brands,” said Dale Renner, RedPoint’s CEO. “To consistently meet customer expectations, brands must be relevant; and to sustain profitable revenue growth, they must be more relevant than competitors. This can only be achieved by having the deepest understanding of a customer, making decisions at the cadence of each customer, and then intelligently orchestrating engagement across any touchpoint in the enterprise.”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of GeoMarketing.com. A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.