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Forrester: Marketing and customer experience management must unite

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23rd Jan 2014
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There’s something of a tussle going on in the CRM arena, reveals Forrester’s new report, The Convergence Of Brand, Customer Experience And Marketing, and it has to be resolved if companies want to succeed in this age of customer obsession. The corporate ring currently looks something like this:

In the red corner: marketing. A familiar and well-seasoned heavy-weight in the corporate realms, it’s defending its long-established values of customer acquisition and transaction driving.

In the blue corner: customer experience management. In comparison, it’s a fresh-faced new-comer to the ring, championing customer engagement and knowledge.

This is set to be an interesting clash, as the friction between traditional marketing concerns and the endeavours of CEM is addressed. And it does need to be addressed. To be in with a fighting chance of survival in this customer-centric market, organisations must adapt their marketing approach to complement their CEM strategies.

Forrester found that 63% of CMOs consider customer acquisition their number one priority, while only 22% give precedence to retention. This is despite all the evidence we’ve recently seen which tells us – in no uncertain terms – that generating loyalty and holding onto existing custom is more lucrative and beneficial for business than successfully enticing new punters in. Such research makes it rather baffling, then, to see that the number of CMOs all about customer retention has actually dropped since 2011, when it stood at 30%. Strategies to encourage conversation and improve understanding of the consumer must also fight their way to the fore, overcoming current CMO fixations which lie upon simple transaction pushing. Currently, a dominant 69% use the data they collect for segmentation studies, and only 36% focus on lifetime value and learn from the customer life cycle.

The tactics of success

Forrester notes in its report that CMOs must referee this competition themselves – putting aside their bias for traditional marketing focuses and considering the long-term benefits of CEM – and must enlist the help of brand strategy. Surprisingly, only 18% of companies surveyed said that their customer experience is derived from their brand strategy, with 21% admitting it comes from a totally separate policy. Forrester’s approach is that brand objectives should act as the foundations upon which to build a CEM strategy, in order to offer a clear-cut message to consumers. Well, it makes sense, doesn’t it?

This all equates to the need for red and blue to join forces in order to create a brand-based CRM strategy to be reckoned with, resulting in a new job description for the CMO. Forrester summarises: “For the next generation of CMOs, marketing will not be a prerequisite for the job. The convergence of brand, customer experience, and marketing will have a ripple effect on other disciplines within the company. It will be up to the CMO to manage competing interests, learn new skills, and orchestrate a seamless brand experience for the customers.”

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