CMO Council study reveals marketer responsiveness impact on brand performance

How quickly and effectively marketers respond and adapt to on-going consumer feedback has become a new determinant of brand performance, reports the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council in a survey report recently released.

According to 90 per cent of the 150 brand marketers surveyed, responsiveness – or the ability to source, understand and then quickly react to feedback, preferences and needs – is important, if not critical, to the delivery of an exceptional customer experience. Yet, only 16 per cent of marketers feel their organisations are extremely responsive to the consumer, failing to make changes to products, packaging, services and experiences based on real-time consumer requests and feedback.

The research study was undertaken by the CMO Council, in partnership with Danaher’s product identification platform companies. It is titled, ‘The responsiveness requirement: Meeting the consumer when and where it matters to drive growth’ and was undertaken in the second quarter of 2017. It investigated how organisations are faring when it comes to responding to customers and leveraging customer data and intelligence to deliver the right experience in the right moment and through the channel of the customer’s choice, whether it is a physical or digital touchpoint.

The main problems preventing marketers from acting responsively include:

– A deficient budget for more frequent updates to physical touchpoints

– Not having the data or intelligence to make changes based on customer reactions and behaviours

– Functional teams separating marketing from product and packaging decisions

– Vendors unable to work quickly enough or unable to meet expedited timelines

To remedy these challenges, marketers feel a cultural shift will need to occur, including new processes and tools to execute fast changes. A focus on customer over product will need to take place for any significant progress to be made according to 60 per cent of respondents in this study.

“Customers fully expect for brands to engage at the speed of light – after all, it is exceptional customer experiences from brands like Amazon and Starbucks that have proven that rapid response, personalisation and real-time (or near real-time) omnichannel engagements are possible at the push of a button or click of an app,” said Liz Miller, senior vice president of marketing for the CMO Council. “This is engagement at the speed of digital and the customer expects a similar level of responsiveness across all experiences, regardless of whether the channel is physical or digital.”

On average, marketers feel they are able to respond to consumer feedback, requests, suggestions or complaints that are specific to marketing campaigns in less than two weeks. In fact, 78 per cent of marketers surveyed are able to meet this expectation, with 43 per cent actually saying that they are able to respond to the consumer within 24 hours. However, when it comes to physical touch points, 77 per cent of respondents admit it can take up to 90 days to respond and react to customer feedback, suggestions or issues, with 36 per cent needing up to three months to respond.

Agile marketing teams are looking to address this execution and engagement gap as 53 per cent of respondents acknowledge that their goal is to deliver updates and make changes to physical touch points in under 14 days, with 20 per cent of marketers hoping to see that gap narrow to just 24 hours.

According to the experts at Danaher Corporation, whose portfolio includes brands like Pantone, MediaBeacon, Esko, X-Rite and AV, if responsiveness in physical media is to be turned into a true competitive advantage, key questions must be asked and steps must be taken.

“With recent large advances in digital media delivery, unfortunately, the capability to make changes to physical media has been a laggard,” noted Joakim Weidemanis, group executive and vice president, product identification at Danaher Corporation. “Many people simply don’t know what’s possible until they decide it will be so. Advances in technology allow business leaders to demand more speed, higher quality and greater transparency from their partners and vendors than ever before. Even more powerful for global brands is that such technology is available all over the world.”

The study was conducted in the spring of 2017 and includes input from more than 153 senior marketing executives. Fifty-four per cent of respondents hold a title of CMO, head of marketing or senior vice president of marketing and 33 per cent represent brands with revenues in excess of $1 billion.

To download the report, click here.