While there is no denying the power of objective, strong and accurate ROI data, chief marketing officers (CMOs) today are more concerned with a somewhat subjective metric: improving the customer experience. According to a study by Korn Ferry, the top concern of CMOs (34%) is the creation of sustainable and engaging customer relationships and improving the customer experience.
Demonstrating ROI was still ranked as the top concern by about a quarter of CMOs, but doing so has often proven difficult. A survey by ITSMA and Vision Edge Marketing (VEM) revealed that while 85% of marketers were under pressure to measure their value or contribution to the business, only 25% were able to measure that impact. Similarly, a study from Duke Fuqua School of Business, revealed that just 35.7% of CMOs feel that they can prove the short-term impact of marketing spend quantitatively, and 28.6% feel they can prove the long-term impact.
So, CMO’s may be shifting their attention, and their dollars, to something that technology has made easier to measure: customer engagement. Other data from the Korn Ferry study showed that 8 in 10 CMOs report that their organization has increased spend on content marketing, and about the same figure said their social media spend increased compared to last year.
Social media is a natural extension and tool of customer engagement, considering it revolves around the idea of building relationships online, staying connected and growing an audience. Impressions, clicks, likes, shares, comments, and other social interactions help to make this engagement quantifiable. In addition, the investment in content marketing represents the growing importance of messaging that is both consistent with brand initiatives and relevant to specific markets and customers.
When it comes to content, Contently found that some 54% of internet users aged 18-65 say they generally don’t trust sponsored content, but some brand content types are better received by consumers than others. According to the chart below featuring data from a Vibrant Media study, consumers are most receptive to images and videos.
Personalization also plays a major role in creating a better customer experience and big data helps make that happen. The same Korn Ferry study found that nearly one-quarter of CMOs said big data is most effective for personalizing the customer experience. In addition, a study by Adobe reported that U.S. marketers found personalization to be the most important capability for their marketing efforts moving forward.
All in all, CMO’s are constantly looking for ways to bring value to the business while also being able to prove that value. Fortunately, big data, social media and digital technologies provide new ways to market and advertise, and new ways to measure performance. It will be interesting to see if, or when, metrics surrounding customer experience and engagement will be directly correlated to actual sales and value for the business.