ANALYSIS

Customer Experience Data and the Bright Line Between Success and Failure

In May and June of 2010, Aberdeen surveyed more than 260 executives regarding their plans for the second half of 2010 and the first half of calendar 2011. The results were clear and compelling — marketing’s ability to access and understand customer experience data means success or failure for companies. Given the average chief marketing officer’s job tenure of 23 months, there is no time to waste!

Best-In-Class marketing organizations are laser-focused on strategies that deliver tangible, measurable results from campaigns. In fact, the epicenter of the Best-In-Class definition for the upcoming Aberdeen report, “For Marketers, Accessing and Understanding Customer Experience Data Means Life or Death,” is based on three specific, and relevant metrics on results:

  • Marketing’s contribution to sales pipeline forecasts
  • Closed business that is the direct result of marketing generated leads
  • Overall annual corporate revenue growth

Aberdeen’s Competitive Maturity Assessment

The leading companies in Aberdeen’s research are using customer experience data to perform substantively better than Laggard organizations when compared to the key performance indicators (KPI). If “revenue is king,” Best-In-Class companies are heading to the throne, since they are four times more likely to achieve corporate revenue growth then Laggards. Compared to Laggard organizations, Best-in-Class have 40 percent higher performance in marketing-generated leads in their sales forecast pipeline, and their marketing teams produce 35 times more marketing-generated leads resulting in closed business.

Aberdeen research reflects that the leading companies are overcoming significant internal and external market pressures to utilize customer experience data that is driving their marketing agendas over the next 12 months.

Market Pressures Impact Marketing Agendas

The overwhelming need for immediate access to and understanding of customer experience data is a pressure that is consistent across all organizations regardless of industry, revenue size, or geographic location.

There is a correlation between the external economic and business pressures and the internal pressures that the companies in the marketplace face today. For instance, the macro economic pressures translate to reduced marketing budgets as an internal pressure for many organizations.

It’s important to note the dichotomy of the marketing executive’s world in the current environment and over the next year in consideration of the findings reflected above. While confronted externally with greater competition, economic uncertainty and a vastly changing environment, marketers are simultaneously required internally to demonstrate measurable ROI from their marketing programs despite the reality of fewer dollars and resources available to execute their agendas. As a result, Best-In-Class companies are turning to customer experience data to help them navigate these difficult and contrasting pressures.

Key Capabilities

While the external and internal pressures facing marketing organizations and the associated strategies are similar across all respondents, stark differences become apparent when assessing the capabilities to support their performance by leveraging customer data. The competencies marketers use are significantly different between Best-In-Class organizations and all others. When it comes to separating the wheat from the chaff, Best-In-Class companies differentiate themselves by their ability to process and capture information on customer experience data to deliver a greater number of leads that enable their sales teams to close more business and produce corporate revenue growth.

The leading organizations also have superior process capabilities that capture and disseminate customer experience data. In Aberdeen’s view, ready access and understanding of this information is essential if an organization is to execute on the strategy of measuring its program ROI. In order to produce leads that add to the sales forecast pipeline and closed business, companies should be able to effectively and rapidly adjust their marketing programs.

Overall, having processes in place to leverage the customer experience data positively impacts the company performance as it allows to deliver essential and timely information to measure marketing programs and adjust them accordingly. The performance improvements reflected by leading companies testifies that understanding the needs of customers on a personalized basis and tailoring the marketing programs accordingly are key to marketing success today.


Chris Houpis is senior marketing research analyst at the Aberdeen Group.

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