Forty-five percent of marketers place customer experience as the number one business priority, but almost the same percentage (47 percent) are struggling to prove its return on investment, according to a study by Squiz and B2B Marketing.
Proving ROI was far and away the biggest challenge when trying to acquire budget, but the other responses could be exacerbating this obstacle, including a lack of department alignment (15 percent), lack of c-suite buy-in (14 percent) and skills gaps within teams (9 percent).
When it comes to ownership of the customer experience, the survey found priorities and resources aren’t aligned in many businesses. While 65 percent of respondents reported improving customer experience was a priority at the board level, only 39 percent of marketers reported their CMO has the remit and budget to drive the customer experience.
Additionally, the survey found marketing technology to be an evolving area for many marketers looking to better understand and influence the customer journey. Most (81 percent) employ a CRM and email bulk send (66 percent), but less than half (47 percent) are leveraging marketing automation. However, adding marketing automation is a priority in the next year for 47 percent of respondents.
Identifying clear goals and KPIs for customer experience within a broader marketing strategy is still not being done across the board; in fact, less than one-third of respondents were doing so.
About half (47 percent) of respondents stated they do not have a mechanism for receiving and processing direct customer feedback.
“There’s obviously a massive disconnect in what marketers want to do and what they’re focusing on, and then proving it’s effective,” said Stephen Morgan, co-founder of Squiz.
Customer Experience is Top Opportunity for 2016
Nearly one-quarter of marketers consider optimizing the customer experience to be the most exciting opportunity for the year ahead, according to Econsultancy and Adobe’s “2016 Digital Trends” report. Customer experience edged out other areas of focus, including creating compelling content for digital experiences and data-driven marketing.
As far as goals for marketing professionals, personalization (31 percent), content optimization (29 percent) and social media management (25 percent) were a priority for those striving to offer unique customer experiences. Half of the respondents named data-driven marketing as a strategic priority for 2016.