Latest Study From Act-On and Gleanster Research Rethinks the Role of Marketing


Marketers Are in an Ideal Position to Orchestrate the Customer Experience, but Don’t

BEAVERTON, OR–(Marketwired – Feb 18, 2015) – Act-On Software, the leading provider of marketing automation for small and mid-sized businesses, and Gleanster Research, an advisory firm focused on technology-enabled business initiatives, have announced findings to their latest joint research that shows how marketers at mid-sized business-to-business (B2B) organizations approach the customer lifecycle and use today’s techniques and technologies to support the customer experience.

The study was conducted in Q4 2014 and Q1 2015, and surveyed marketing professionals in 750 companies to understand how marketers perceive their role and carry out their responsibilities in the context of the entire customer lifecycle. The research looked at the allocation of marketing resources and budget, application of tactics, and the results obtained at each stage of the customer relationship: awareness, acquisition, retention, and expansion, to gauge a company’s effectiveness at managing the end-to-end customer lifecycle.

The research found that marketers overwhelmingly feel that the world is shifting inexorably to a customer-centric focus in which companies must address the customer relationship as an end-to-end engagement continuum. However, in most companies no department is accountable for the stewardship of the entire customer relationship — although 62 percent of respondents felt that marketers are best positioned to orchestrate the overall experience.

The research did uncover a clear natural division between the respondents. Companies that beat revenue targets in their last fiscal year, have over 90 percent of their customers satisfied with their product or service and consider themselves effective at managing the entire customer lifecycle distinguished themselves significantly from the rest of the pack. These companies represent two percent of the respondents and are considered the Top Performers while the remaining 98 percent are considered the Average Performers.

Top Performers spent more time and resources on retention initiatives, and, as a result, saw an equal split of revenue between new and existing customers. In comparison, average performers spent a majority of their effort and resources on acquisition initiatives, generating 70 percent of revenues from new customers and only 30 percent of revenue from their existing customer base. Top Performers also employ a different strategy from Average Performers. They are almost twice as likely to tie marketing objectives to milestones along the entire lifecycle, spend 41 percent more time on customer communication and employ techniques like segmentation and personalization.

“Too many B2B organizations treat the customer lifecycle as a series of handoffs between departments — marketing to sales to service,” said Ian Michiels, Principal at Gleanster Research. “Marketing is the only function positioned to engage customers across the entire spectrum of customer relationship management and it’s no surprise that the most successful firms take this approach.”

Results also showed that Top Performers approach the customer lifecycle holistically, and were 20 percent more likely to use marketing automation technologies than average performers. This is no surprise, as automation allows organizations to apply business rules to prospect and customer communication across all channels and treat it as part of an engagement continuum, instead of as disjointed and episodic events.

With the rapidly expanding Internet of Things (IoT), companies need to deliver a real-time, unified customer experience across all communication channels. Marketers at all companies can profit by employing the strategy and tactics of the Top Performers.

Concludes Ian, “Bottom line, the survey data revealed most B2B firms care about the customer experience, but nobody (marketing, sales, or service) really manages or owns it. It’s time we re-think the concept of CRM — and it’s time for marketing to step up to own and orchestrate it.”

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Tweetable Stats:

1. #Customerlifecycle management is broken — it’s fragmented between departments & systems. The #CMO can change that! #RethinkMarketing [Tweet this:] 2. #B2B Marketers fail to manage end-to-end customer engagement. 90% spend 2/3 of time & budget on acquisition efforts #CMO #RethinkMarketing [Tweet this:] 3. Top performers are 2x likely to map #mktg objectives to the entire #customerlifecycle via metrics that relate to revenue #MarketingMetrics [Tweet this:] 4. The #customerlifecycle needs a leader! Marketing is only function that supports customer engagement across lifecycle #CRM #RethinkMarketing [Tweet this:]

About Act-On Software
Act-On is the leading provider of integrated marketing automation software, helping 3,000+ companies to tie inbound, outbound, and lead nurturing programs together — across email, web, mobile, and social. Users can achieve superior return on marketing investment by leveraging behavioral data to increase engagement throughout the customer lifecycle — from acquisition to retention and expansion. Act-On’s fresh approach to marketing automation gives sales and marketing professionals full functionality without the complexity other systems impose, and makes campaign creation and program execution easier and faster. Act-On also offers a best-in-class professional services team, dedicated customer support, and the APEX ecosystem of partners to provide clients with the resources they need to achieve marketing success.

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