IBM has published a study of over 1700 Chief Marketing Officers titled From Stretched to Strengthened, Insights from the Global Chief Marketing Officer Study which highlights the changes the marketplace is going through and the need for businesses to adapt.
Here are a few highlights.
1. Key External Forces that are affecting organizations today are market and technology.
2. 80% of CMOs (Chief Marketing Officers) anticipate high levels of complexity over the next five years.
3. Only about 50% of the CMOs feel ready to handle it.
4. CMO’s identified 4 pervasive, universal game changers:
a. Data Explosion
b. Social Media
c. Proliferation of Channels and Devices
d. Shifting Consumer Demographics
5. With social media, consumers can see and say ‘more about the organizations they deal with than at any other time in history. If an organization stumbles, there’s nowhere left to hide.’
I particularly liked a quote by Monica Gregori, Marketing Director of Natura Consumer Products: “We live in a world where no secret lasts five minutes. Today it is impossible to control any confidential information. Everything leaks. We need to be better and faster constantly. This is the agenda we need to apply in marketing and business as a whole.”
6. The volume of data and consumer feedback generated by the digital revolution is massive. The problem is that to take advantage of this data, it needs to be intercepted, and interpreted in order to find the meaningful parts. This is the issue of data explosion.
The volume of data is increasing with ‘ferocious velocity’. An amazing statistic is that we are creating as much information every 2 days as we did since the dawn of civilization to 2003.
As a result, organizations are having a difficult time sorting through this ‘digital’ ocean’ to understand their customers.
7. Employees of these businesses often don’t understand the new technologies and tools in the marketplace. Their children may understand them better than they do.
8. Customer Service feedback is one of the key sources used to influence strategy decisions.
9. Many organizations don’t track Blogs, Product Reviews or Consumer reviews on the web, important sources of feedback, mostly because they don’t have the right tools to gather the data.
These sources also provide insights into what customers want and expect from an organization (either products, services or even how to communicate with them). So organizations miss the good and the bad.
10. Another issue is the speed of social media. Customer dissatisfaction can spread like wildfire before a business is even aware of it.
11. Using technology to address these issues brings up the issue of being able to measure the Return on Investment. First you have to be able to measure the benefits. That’s hard to do.
12. Even if new tools are implemented, they are fragmented today and integration is a key problem. IT and Marketing need to work together.
13. CMOs recognize the need to retain customer loyalty and engage their satisfied customers to be advocates for them. But how does an organization do that? Communication is not sufficient. The study suggests that companies focus on helping their customers get the most out of the products and services they purchased and collaborate with them ‘to co-create new products’.
The study contains several examples of organizations and how they are succeeding in the new digital world. The IBM study then makes recommendations for organizations on how to move forward to address these issues.
Check out the study here.