Chief Marketing Officers are not fully equipped to guide the customer experience, according to a joint survey by conversational marketing technology provider Neolane and CMO Club.

The survey revealed that 90% of CMOs are personally responsible for the overall customer experience for their brands, but only 11% actually own the customer profit and loss (P&L) results. What’s more, the survey showed that CMOs from $1 billion-plus companies rely less on financial key performance indicators (KPIs) -- such as revenue increase, retention rate and stock price -- to measure the customer experience, compared to their counterparts at sub-$1 billion companies.

Pete Krainik, Founder and CEO of The CMO Club, said in a press release that the No. 1 challenge facing CMOs is the changing role of marketing and the ability to impact and lead brand engagement with customers and overall customer experience.

“We were surprised that only 11% have P&L responsibility,” Krainik said. “This lack of financial responsibility is likely hindering the CMOs’ credibility with their CEOs and boards. It also raises questions on the ability of many organizations to directly tie improved customer experience to profitable growth.”

Overall, the survey results suggest that CMOs are not fully equipped to be customer experience leaders within their organizations. The survey polled more than 200 heads of marketing from The CMO Club’s global member base and represents a number of industries including consumer goods, retail, media and entertainment, travel and hospitality, healthcare, financial services, B2B high tech, energy, and legal.

When asked, “Which of the following are obstacles in delivering a positive customer experience?” CMOs responded:  

• 51% cited missing processes and accountability as an obstacle

• 42% cited organizational silos as an obstacle

• 42% cited incomplete, inaccurate, or missing data as an obstacle

• 34% cited change management or cultural issues as an obstacle

• 30% cited unable to personalize experience in real-time as an obstacle

What’s more, when asked the question, “What are the three most essential tools marketers need to deliver the best customer experience today?” CMOs responded: That customer interaction management, defined as “real-time management and presentation of consistent offers and messages across channels,” ranked as the most essential tool at 39%; followed by CRM solutions (37%), and loyalty management (35%).

Excluding the traditional CRM solutions, CMOs are less competent with three out of four of the most essential customer experience tools—interaction management, predictive analytics and loyalty management, according to the survey. What’s more, results showed that CMOs at $1 billion-plus companies are even less competent across every category.

“With consumer expectations rising, there is a greater need to deliver a relevant, personalized experience,” Stéphane Dehoche, president and CEO, Neolane, added. “The data showed that real-time support of personalized, cross-channel interactions is critical for CMOs to ensure the optimal customer experience. Unfortunately, CMOs are not highly competent in leveraging the most essential tools. It’s critical that CMOs embrace these technologies and begin to understand how they can drive significant customer experience improvements for their brand.”

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