Customer Experience Featured Article

Where Will APAC CMOs Put Investment This Year? In Customer Experience, Says IDC

February 18, 2015

The topic of where to invest is a difficult point for any business to consider; a business that isn't busy growing is likely busy dying, to misquote “The Shawshank Redemption.” But a new study from International Data Corporation (IDC (News - Alert)) says that, for much of the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region—excluding Japan—the biggest goal of expansion in 2015 is a common one: improving the customer experience.

While the goal itself is pretty clear, the exact methods of carrying out such a goal will be somewhat tougher to pin down, and to get there, the CMO and CIO will need to better work together. IDC, meanwhile—through its senior program manager of big data, analytics, enterprise applications and social lead for IDC Asia-Pacific Daniel-Zoe Jimenez—offered up some advice on just how to get there. Jimenez noted that what kept customers coming back was the overall experience; while there were several components of that experience—the price of the product, the quality of the product and so on—it was the overall experience that made the customers make decisions about where to go and on what to spend.

Businesses needed to, Jimenez continued, focus on the needs of the “empowered buyer”, and that was where the unification of marketing and information comes most into play. With businesses better able to know more about the consumer, putting that information to work in a marketing context will be, in turn, more important than ever before. As Jimenez noted, the CMO in some companies is being replaced outright with a “Customer Experience Head”, reflecting the new push to make the customer experience as important as possible.

Indeed, the means to determine just how well the CMO—or the Customer Experience Head—is doing is likewise changing as well. 66 percent point to increasing market share as a major part of things, while 60 percent cite improving marketing processes like measuring just how effective the organization is overall in its marketing efforts. Customer satisfaction ratings are also clearly in focus, as 55 percent call that a major measure in determining CMO success.

But this is going to be difficult for many companies as the concept of the “data silo” is still very much in place in many companies. Marketing information is contained within the marketing department, and similar issues are taking place all over the business. So breaking open these silos and allowing data to more freely intermingle, and be accessed by all departments for easier use, is going to be a major part of making these changes toward the customer experience. Also expected to appear are points like improvements in social selling programs as businesses turn to social networks for buying support, and the customer experience overall becomes one of, if not the, biggest part of a business' operations.

The customer experience as a whole is a major part of every business, if for no other reason than it incorporates so many parts of a customer's overall interaction with a business. Sure, there will always be customers who are sensitive to price, and those customers really don't care if the call center staff is courteous and helpful. But most people aren't just focused on one thing; as Robert Heinlein was once heard to remark, specialization is for insects. Thus, most people like at least more than one part of the customer experience, and want it all to go smoothly and without undue complications. The company that can provide that, meanwhile, is most likely to see return business. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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