A new IBM study of more than 1,700 chief marketing officers from 64 countries and 19 industries reveals that the majority of the world’s top marketing executives recognize a critical and permanent shift occurring in the way they engage with their customers, but question whether their marketing organizations are prepared to manage the change.
At the same time, the research shows that the measures used to evaluate marketing are changing. Nearly two-thirds of CMOs think return on marketing investment will be the primary measure of the marketing function’s effectiveness by 2015. But even among the most successful enterprises, half of all CMOs feel insufficiently prepared to provide hard numbers.
And most of these executives -- responsible for the integrated marketing of their organization’s products, services and brand reputations -- say they lack significant influence in key areas such as product development, pricing and selection of sales channels.
The IBM study found that while 82 percent of CMOs say they plan to increase their use of social media over the next three to five years, only 26 percent are currently tracking blogs, 42 percent are tracking third party reviews and 48 percent are tracking consumer reviews to help shape their marketing strategies.
Customers are sharing their experiences widely online, giving them more control and influence over brands. This shift in the balance of power from organizations to their customers requires new marketing approaches, tools and skills in order to stay competitive. CMOs are aware of this changing landscape, but are struggling to respond. More than 50 percent of CMOs think they are underprepared to manage key market forces – from social media to greater customer collaboration and influence – indicating that they will have to make fundamental changes to traditional methods of brand and product marketing.
While they identify customer intimacy as a top priority, and recognize the impact of real-time data supplementing traditional methods of channel marketing and gathering market feedback, most CMOs say they remain mired in 20th century approaches. Eighty-percent or more of the CMOs surveyed are still focusing primarily on traditional sources of information such as market research and competitive benchmarking, and 68 percent rely on sales campaign analysis to make strategic decisions.
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