Thursday, April 27, 2006

It's The Customer Stupid!

This article from BtoB online is one that every marketer should read. Knowing your customers is vital to any successful marketing effort. Outsourcing customer knowledge to sales, support or even your agency makes you less effective. On average marketing professionals should spend 25% of their time getting to know and learn from customers.

CMO Council study finds marketers out of touch with customers
Apr 26, 2006

Palo Alto, Calif.—Marketers still have a long way to go when it comes to understanding and interacting with customers, according to a new study by the CMO Council.

The study, “Select & Connect: Strategies for Targeted Acquisition and Retention,” was based on a survey of more than 550 marketers in the first quarter.

It found that nearly 75% of marketers did not have a customer advisory board or council. Of those that do, only 6% said the board was “very critical” in product innovation.

Also, nearly 75% of marketers said they did not manage a formal online community of users or buyers, and more than 66% said they did not have a formal customer word-of-mouth program in place.

The top three factors that prevent optimal customer insight and intimacy are complexity of data and system integration, competing departmental goals and personalities, and an under-appreciation of such efforts within the company, the survey found.

By Kate Maddox, BtoB magazine

Marketers Lack Customer Touch, According to CMO Council/NetLine Study

As Customer-Centric Programs Grow, Survey Reveals Weak Targeting, Acquisition and Retention Strategies

PALO ALTO, CA (April 26, 2006)— While marketers are clearly making customer development a priority, they have a significant disconnect with the realities that drive effective targeting, acquisition and retention, according to a new Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council study.

The findings show that a significant number of marketing organizations do not have a model or profile of their best customer prospects or opportunities; have no formal system for tracking marketing’s role in customer acquisition, retention and value creation; and face big challenges with complex data and system integration, as well as competing departmental goals and priorities.

The study, underwritten by NetLine Corp. and fielded to over 550 marketing professionals in Q1 2006, explores the systems and practices used by companies to identify, profile, activate and retain valued customers, and also examines the marketing organization’s level of customer knowledge, insight and visibility, along with the segmentation methodologies and approaches used to target the best prospects and the most profitable opportunities.

A complimentary one-hour Select & Connect Webinar, featuring customer program insights from top marketers, is scheduled for today, Wednesday, April 26 at 11 a.m. PST, 2 p.m. EST. To register for the event and to receive a copy of the full report, go to:

Among the Key Findings:

  • Three top factors prevent optimal customer insight and intimacy: data and system integration requirements that are too complex; competing departmental goals and personalities; and an under-appreciation of such efforts with the company.
  • There is little formal customer feedback, asnearly three-quarters of respondents did not control and run a customer advisory board or council. Of those who did have such a board, only 6 percent said it was “very critical” in product co-innovation. Nearly 75 percent said they did not manage and interact with a formal online community of users or buyers, and over two-thirds did not have a formal customer word-of-mouth program in place.
  • Nearly 30 percent of respondents said the CEO or business unit heads influence or determine customer segmentation and targeting, leaving marketing with little control over this critical process.
  • Marketers said the majority of customer conversations and interactions are driven by the sales organization, supporting sales’ oft-used claim that “marketing does not know the customer.”
“Given the awesome power that today’s customer wields, it’s critical that marketers raise their level of customer knowledge, insight and reach,” said Donovan Neale-May, executive director, CMO Council. “The results of this study show that marketers have a long way to go in improving strategies, processes and methodologies to achieve maximum customer acquisition, retention and profitability.”

“Our recent partnership with the CMO Council has deepened our insight and gained us a greater understanding of our prospect and customer base,” comments Werner Mansfeld, president and CFO, NetLine Corporation. “The study results are aligned with what we’ve encountered in the marketplace, and confirm our position, strategies, and process to better serve our customers.”

The Select & Connect survey was fielded by media partner BtoB Magazine, as well as affiliate partners the Promotion Marketing Association (PMA); American Marketing Association (AMA); Sales & Marketing Institute (SMI); and Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS).

About the CMO Council
The CMO Council is dedicated to high-level knowledge exchange, thought leadership and personal relationship building among senior marketing and brand decision-makers across a wide-range of global industries. Nearly 2,000 top marketing executives are represented on the CMO Council, accounting for well over $50 billion in aggregated annual revenues. Visit the CMO Council website to find out about the initiatives geared to address executive marketers’ challenges at


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