Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Study Reveals Challenges Midmarket CMOs Face to Sustain Brand Loyalty with Today's Social Consumer

A new global IBM study of Midmarket Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) revealed that building and sustaining brand loyalty is the top concern for today's midmarket CMOs, yet 72 percent do not feel sufficiently prepared to effectively build this loyalty. Additionally, 70 percent of midmarket CMOs are concerned about data explosion, as they are tasked with making sense of highly complex information generated constantly from a variety of sources such as consumer blogs, tweets, mobile texts and videos.

Today's CMOs need to be prepared to deal with an empowered consumer who is impacting brands instantly on Twitter, Facebook and other social channels. 61 percent of midmarket CMOs are struggling with how to manage the impact of social media will have on their marketing function. Many CMOs today are focused primarily on understanding market segments versus understanding the individual consumer in order to shape marketing strategies. Fewer than 50 percent of midmarket CMOs are taking the time to understand and evaluate the impact of consumer generated reviews, blogs and third party rankings on their brands.

The proliferation of social media and mobile devices is creating a new breed of consumers who are digitally savvy and able to quickly compare and evaluate which products and services they want to buy. Mobile commerce is expected to reach $31 billion by 2016, yet 62 percent of midmarket CMOs report being underprepared to deal with the proliferation of channels and devices. This increase in the mobile shopping trend further increases marketing challenges, complicates data collection and analysis, and threatens both customer service and customer retention.

Like their peers in larger organizations, midmarket CMOs are also being held more financially accountable to their organizations to produce business outcomes at a faster pace. The study also revealed that while midmarket CMOs believe ROI on marketing dollars spent will be the most important measuring stick for determining success of their business by 2015, the study noted 72 percent of CMOs are underprepared to manage the plummeting level of brand loyalty.

Aside from current economic conditions, there's an even bigger factor impacting brand loyalty. Innovations in technology and the spread of social networking have provided buyers with new tools for discovering, comparing, evaluating, choosing and experiencing brands. With the growth of social networks and a need for transparency, trust and personal exchanges between the consumer and the marketplace are now forming the cornerstone of small and midsize marketing efforts.

More information on brand loyalty and the social customer can be found at

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