NEW YORK & LAS VEGAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sitecore Symposium Las Vegas - A new study by Forbes Insights, in association with Sitecore, shows that while 94% of respondents say keeping customers for life is prioritized within their organization, 49% are unhappy with their current marketing technology’s ability to support those goals. The report, “Customers for Life: Technology Strategies for Attracting and Keeping Customers,” is based on a survey of more than 300 senior executives in North America and provides new insights into the way businesses understand and approach the customer experience. Sitecore and Forbes Insights released the findings today at Sitecore Symposium Las Vegas, a conference attracting 1,200 marketers and technologists.
While organizations say that retaining customers and obtaining a single view of the customer are top marketing priorities, most still concentrate on customer acquisition. Just 38% of companies are primarily focused on retaining repeat customers for revenue growth, while nearly half (49%) are focused on gaining new customers.
“This study shows that many companies fall short of their potential when it comes to nurturing the full customer lifecycle,” says Bruce Rogers, chief insights officer and head of the CMO Practice for Forbes Media. “A lack of internal collaboration and integration of systems often leaves them with siloed data, crippling their efforts to maximize customer lifetime value and leading to chaos and complexity.”
By 2020, customer experience is expected to surpass product and pricing as the key differentiator for businesses.1 To remain competitive in this evolving landscape, companies must orient themselves towards creating and keeping customers for life.
“Fostering the personal relationships and compelling experiences that lead to customer loyalty is now a requirement for achieving market leadership,” said Michael Seifert, Sitecore CEO. “However, many organizations are held back because they’re unable to achieve a 360-degree view of the customer. This report provides valuable direction for organizations ready to adopt a fully customer-centric approach.”
Other key findings:
Developing a single customer view is a top organizational priority; however, technical challenges—including a multiplicity of systems, fragmentation of data and the resulting silos and complexity—slow progress.
- Only 16% of organizations surveyed do not consider a single view of the customer a priority, while 53% consider it a high to very high priority. The biggest challenges to developing this 360-degree view are difficulties with keeping track of data among multiple systems, data redundancies and silos. On average, organizations use 36 different data-gathering systems and vendors for marketing efforts.
- Only a quarter (24%) of all respondents feel that customer communications and data gathering systems are fully integrated, while 13% report no level of integration at all.
Silos and a lack of integration among teams also pose challenges to the delivery of seamless, personalized customer interactions.
- Just 37% of respondents say the teams responsible for customer acquisition and interfacing regardless of lifecycle stage, are fully integrated.
- Half (49%) of all respondents indicate marketing and data teams are siloed.
- The top challenges to more integrated ways of communicating with customers include a lack of willingness to collaborate cross-team, and insufficiently evolved talent or technical capabilities to warrant integration.
Organizations understand the benefit of utilizing customer lifetime value (CLV) metrics in strategic planning for acquisition, retention and revenue growth; however, regular usage rates are low.
- Over three-quarters of respondents indicate average and maximum potential CLV metrics are highly valuable to their planning.
- Only 58% regularly calculate average CLV, and 47% do not know potential maximum CLV. These low regular usage rates suggest that intention and action are disconnected.
While organizations recognize the importance of a strategic approach to retaining customers for life, C-level marketers and technology executives are often left out of the process.
- The importance of a strategic approach is well understood by the businesses surveyed. Eighty-four percent report having a strategy in place, and 49% indicate it is an integral part of their overall business strategy.
- While 73% say the CEO is involved in developing that strategy, only 38% indicate the CMO is involved. Even fewer – 33% -- include the CIO in these conversations.
About the research
This study is based on a survey of 312 senior executives based in North America conducted by Forbes Insights in July 2014. The respondents represented a broad range of industries. Twelve percent were CEO/president/managing director, 17% other C-level, and 61% SVP/VP/director. All companies represented had at least $500 million in revenue; 30% had $1 billion to $9.9 billion in revenue; and 19% had $10 billion or more in revenue. Forbes Insights also conducted one-on-one interviews to provide context for the findings.
About Forbes Insights
Forbes Insights is the strategic research and thought leadership practice of Forbes Media whose combined media properties reach nearly 75 million people worldwide with its business message each month through its magazines and 36 licensed local editions around the world, Forbes.com, TV, conferences, research, social and mobile. Taking advantage of a proprietary database of senior-level executives in the Forbes community, Forbes Insights conducts research on a host of topics of interest to C-level executives, senior marketing professionals, small business owners and those who aspire to positions of leadership, as well as providing deep insights into issues and trends surrounding wealth creation and wealth management.
Sitecore is the global leader in customer experience management. The company delivers highly relevant content and personalized digital experiences that delight audiences, build loyalty and drive revenue. With the Sitecore® Experience PlatformTM, marketers can own the experience of every customer that engages with their brand, across every channel. More than 4,000 of the world’s leading brands - including American Express, Carnival Cruise Lines, easyJet, Heineken and L’Oréal trust Sitecore to help them deliver the meaningful interactions that win customers for life.
Download the report at www.forbes.com/forbesinsights/sitecore/
1 1 “Customers 2020: The Future of B-to-B Customer Experience,” Walker Information, Inc., 2014