When 723 CMOs talk, IBM listens. In its annual survey, “Redefining Markets: Insights from the Global C-suite Study—The CMO Perspective,” the company found that 63 percent of CMOs are sinking more dollars into customer experience this year. About that same number see industry convergence as the biggest business challenge they currently face. The latter is due to shifts in technology that allow entry into industries and audiences that weren’t easy to access before.
“Large scale industry disruption caused by IoT, cloud and mobile technologies is forcing CMOs to reinvent how they interact with customers,” said Harriet Green, IBM’s VP and GM of Internet of Things, Commerce & Education, in a press release. “We are working directly with the world’s leading CMOs to help them seize the opportunities in cognitive commerce so they can rethink every aspect of their strategy, design and operations to enhance their customer experiences.”
To help with those customer experiences, three-quarters of CMOs are using more event and experiential marketing. Technology is making it easier to collect data on customers and inject it into all marketing decisions. Of the CMOs polled, 60 percent plan to bring more data-driven insights into marketing campaigns in the next three to five years.
The digital world is becoming more and more important to marketers, as 79 percent of CMOs plan to hire employees with digital skills to improve their marketing function’s digital literacy. Of course, it can be hard to know exactly where to place that digital emphasis.
Another CMO survey released this week from Duke University shows that social media has gone up quickly in the past five years, but US companies haven’t seen a great return on that investment. Almost half (47.9 percent) of marketers surveyed said they haven’t been able to demonstrate the impact of social media yet on their business. Still, social media spending is expected to climb to a 20.9 percent share of marketing budgets in the next five years.
“By embracing the latest analytic and cognitive commerce technologies, marketers can tap into this explosion of data to deliver a personalized customer experience precisely at the right time and place,” said Lisa Claes, Executive Director, Customer Service, for ING Australia, in the IBM press release.
The Duke study also found that CMOs are “becoming less effective at integrating all of the customer information they have.” The average firm gave itself a score of 3.4 on a scale of 1-7 on how well it is integrating its customer info from purchasing, social media and other channels. That’s down slightly from 3.7 a year ago and 3.9 in August 2014.