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Marketing capability development remains the top knowledge priority for CMOs. On average, they increased their spend by 10.4% in this area, with the service sector in both B2C (15.0%) and B2B (12.0%) indexing above their product peers, per the results of the CMO Survey [download page].

This increase in spend is also in alignment with their top customer experience challenge. Some 13.4% of CMOs said that developing the necessary capabilities inside their organization to design, deliver and monitor the customer experience was at the top of their list of CX challenges – above all other options offered.

The second-biggest challenge, cited by around 1 in 8 CMOs surveyed (12.5%) , is determining the contribution of each touchpoint to the overall customer experience and identifying critical touchpoints.

Another challenge (at #4 on the list) is mapping all elements of the customer journey (10.8%). A survey by Pointillist also noted that customer journey mapping is used quite widely by high-performing CX teams.

The report does note some particular differences between companies that are driving significant revenues online. Some 20.6% of companies with larger internet sales cite their top challenge as determining the contribution of each touchpoint to overall customer experience and identifying critical touchpoints. By contrast, only 7.2% of companies with no internet sales at all feel that this is their biggest challenge.

CMOs Feel Behind the Pack in Customer Experience

One interesting point to note is that CMOs don’t feel too confident in their CX capabilities. The only area they give themselves a considerably above-average rating is in assuring that customer experiences are compatible with their brand, resulting in a mean score of 0.31 (-1= feel below competitors, 0= on par with competitors and +1= feel above competitors). CMOs were least confident in their performance in measuring customer perceptions, emotions and behaviors throughout the customer journey (-0.22).

There also appears to be a strong correlation between the challenges cited by CMOs and where they perceive to be behind their peers. For example, CMOs noted their top challenges included: developing the necessary capabilities inside the organization to design, deliver and monitor the customer experience; integrating touchpoints across the customer journey; coordinating disparate aspects of the organization to design, manage, deliver, and monitor the customer experience; and linking customer experience measure to relevant KPIs and financial outcomes. These are also areas where most CMOs say their companies’ performance trails that of their competitors.

Sector-wise, respondents that worked in B2B product were most likely to say they are trailing their competitors when it comes to developing the necessary capabilities to design, deliver and monitor customer experience. On the other hand, B2C companies (45.6%) are more likely than B2B companies (28.4%) to say they are behind their competitors in integrating touchpoints across the entire customer journey.

These worries are unlikely to go away soon, because a focus on the customer appears to be correlated with outsized performance. Looking outside of the CMO Survey, a study by Accenture found that companies with relevant customer experiences delivered increased shareholder value, while research by Adobe noted that organizations rating themselves highly on customer experience were more likely to have exceeded their business goals.

To read more, the full report can be found here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 341 marketing professionals (95% of which were VP-level or above). Respondents represent B2B product (33.6%), B2B services (30.7%), B2C products (23.3%) and B2C services (12.4%) economic sectors.

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