Maverick marketing

Maverick marketers undermining customer experience efforts


Marketing leaders must climb down from their ivory towers if organisations are to improve their customer experiences.

18th Mar 2020

Marketing leaders must climb down from their ivory towers if organisations are to improve their customer experiences.

New research suggests that in order for organisations to provide a superior customer experience, their marketing departments must align with other business functions - something that the evidence suggests is not happening in many cases.

The Oracle study - ‘Thriving in the Experience Economy: Priorities of a CMO’ - surveyed over 500 marketers, to reveal that two-thirds of the top performing companies in the CX space have marketing departments that are well integrated with the rest of the business. But this is true of only 42% of the average or low-performing firms.

In fact, high-performers indicated that their marketing functions have succeeded in developing a positive relationship with the ecommerce and merchandising department (76%), as well as sales (72%).

However, even they could do a better job of aligning with the two most crucial functions in a CX sense: customer service (68%) and product and service development (51%). The situation was even worse with average or low-performing firms at 38% and 31% respectively.

“Marketing can’t be alone in the responsibility to customer experience,” the report warns. “As brands focus on the interlocking elements of the customer journey, it has helped them understand that CX impact is a function of how well the different parts of an organisation work in concert.”

Key obstacles to enabling this cross-functional collaboration include competing interests and structural barriers. Moreover, even high-performers indicate there is room for improvement in how their marketing departments communicate and cooperate with others.

But in order to achieve the aim of providing an “effortless” CX, which is a key goal among top performers (64%), such inter-departmental partnerships are vital. One of the objectives here is to provide customers with personalised products and information that reflects who they are and what they are trying to accomplish, although few organisations are able to provide this kind of service today.

Indeed, even among top performers, “only a slim majority is able to personalise to the individual beyond CRM-driven email, and that share falls to under 30% of mainstream companies”, the report says.

As a result, it lays out a number of approaches to facilitate cross-departmental cooperation based on in-depth interviews with 16 marketers at elite UK brands, such as Fortnum & Mason, BT and Birds Eye. These include:

  • Mapping dependencies: When developing CX offerings, it is important to start by mapping any dependencies that exist within the marketing function, the wider organisation and also with external partners. This dependency map should identify all relevant individuals, data and technical requirements;
  • Creating a communications plan: The aim here is to keep the project in the spotlight, reinforce commitment and reward support. Also discuss with other functions where each other’s key performance indicators overlap and where there might be conflict;
  • Looking elsewhere for inspiration: Rather than limiting the focus to the same sector and key rivals, it makes more sense to explore what as many other sectors are doing as possible – particularly those under stress due to shifts in consumer habits – in order to generate ideas that challenge accepted wisdom.


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