Marketing executives responsible for driving corporate growth are being hampered in their efforts by insufficient budgets, skills shortages and inadequate tools, according to a new study by Accenture. The study also found that marketers today are increasingly challenged by their companies’ customers who demand greater value, quality and service.
The 400 senior marketing executives surveyed for the study across Asia Pacific, Europe and North America said their top strategic objectives include improving operational efficiency, increasing profitability and responding effectively to change. However, the barriers they said they must overcome to achieve those objectives, include: inefficient business practices (cited by 21 percent of marketers), inadequate funding or other resources (17 percent), insufficient integration with other business functions (15 percent), a lack of required skills (13 percent) and lack of access to the customer data they need (6 percent).
Additionally, only 23 percent of the marketers said their organizations excelled in customer analytics, innovation, customer engagement and marketing operations at the same time and 33 percent said they did not perform well in any of those areas.
To achieve their growth objectives, marketers most frequently said they must master customer analytics (cited by 65 percent of the marketers), offer innovation (64 percent) and improve customer engagement and marketing operations (57 percent each).
However, marketers most frequently said they did not make effective use of online communities (cited by 43 percent of marketers), direct mail and telemarketing (37 percent); new digital marketing (34 percent); and online advertising (31 percent).
The three business issues the marketers most frequently said they want to address are customer retention and loyalty, new customer acquisition and sales numbers among existing customers. But they reported that changes in customer expectations are impacting their marketing strategies. For instance:
-- 72 percent of them said that “most or all” of their customers expect more value for money.
-- 71 percent said customers have higher product quality expectations.
-- 69 percent said customers are increasingly price sensitive.
-- 68 percent said customers have higher customer service expectations.
-- 66 percent said customers expect businesses to have greater respect for their time.
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