Prioritizing customer key in digital marketing transformation

More than one-third of CMOs believe that digital spending will account for more than 75 percent of their marketing budgets, according to a new study from Accenture. Further, 41 percent believe their spending on digital marketing will increase by more than five percent next year alone.

However, even as 78 percent of marketing executives believe corporate marketing will undergo a fundamental transformation over the next five years due to the use of analytics, digital and mobile technologies, a similar number of respondents (79 percent) believe their company will not be a fully operationalized digital business in the same amount of time.

"As marketing executives are increasingly embracing digital they can be catalysts to help their company take advantage of the wider digital opportunity and protect against broader digital threats," said Brian Whipple, senior managing director at Accenture Interactive. "Marketing executives are well positioned to assume this role because the opportunities, as well as the potential and real threats, are all about the customer, the brand, the interface with the customer and how the customer is empowered. To be part of their enterprise's digital transformation, marketing executives should extend their vision of marketing beyond traditional boundaries."

But, according to Accenture's report, "CMOs: Time for Digital Transformation or Risk Being Left on the Sidelines," many companies still have not placed customers at the heart of their digital marketing strategies. The report, which is based on a survey conducted between November 2013 and January 2014 of nearly 581 executives in 11 countries in 10 industries with 30 percent of respondents classified as B2B, just 62 percent of survey respondents said their company currently provides a good customer experience. Moreover, fewer than half (49 percent) of CMOs said they own the customer experience. Among high-growth companies, however, that number jumps to 59 percent, while among low-growth companies it drops to 37 percent. "Clearly sales growth is affected when customer experience is emphasized. All the more reason, then, for CMOs to own it," the report said.

The report offered some suggestions for managing a digital marketing organization with customers at the center, including increasing collaboration with chief digital officers and chief information officers; developing corporate marketing initiatives around desired outcomes rather than focusing on sales transactions; empathizing with customers by changing the focus of marketing from something you "do to" a customer to something you "do with" a customer; abandoning marketing programs based on initiatives that target, capture and convert customers, and focus instead on efforts that influence, engage, stimulate and help customers; and lastly, remember that the customer is not a transaction but an ongoing dialogue with continual engagement. It is a relationship that covers the whole spectrum of sales, service, retention and loyalty.

For more:
-See this Accenture report

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