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The majority of organizations now see the customer experience as a top priority, according to the “Elevating the Customer Experience” report [download page] conducted by the Winterberry Group for the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) and sponsored by Pitney Bowes. The focus placed on the customer experience is in line with recent research, which has found it to be brand marketers’ top priority and global marketers’ most exciting opportunity. This attention is in turn leading to growth in data-driven marketing spending, per the DMA.

These latest results are based on a survey of more than 450 DMA members consisting of brand marketers (42% share) and executives from providers of marketing services and/or technology (58% share).

Drivers of CX Initiatives

The biggest driver of organizational efforts to enhance the customer experience is customers’ expectation for better and more personalized experiences, as 71% of respondents noted that this is behind their efforts.

That focus on personalization is expressed in many sections of the report. Consider that:

  • Personalization is considered one of the most critical components to delivering a best-in-class customer experience, second only to maintaining a holistic view of customers;
  • Improving audience segmentation to support more precise targeted communications is organizations’ top priority with respect to campaign management; and
  • Behavioral targeting is the top priority with respect to offer management.

It’s no wonder that the biggest business objective for CX enhancements is increasing engagement…

Organization Seek Deeper Personalization

With personalization closely linked to customer experience, organizations have two key personalization priorities in mind: intensifying the depth of personalization efforts (per 50% of respondents) and improving cross-channel identity efforts (per 49% of respondents).

These priorities are based on rich data – but securing that is proving a challenge. Indeed, the lack of sufficient audience data is considered to be the most significant challenge organizations are facing with respect to achieving customer experience enhancement goals.

Another key challenge faced by organizations is a siloed organizational structure and/or fragmented technology management.

On a more positive note, relatively fewer are pointing to a dearth of internal expertise or lack of support from senior management as hindrances. That’s supported by separate research from Verndale, which likewise finds lack of executive buy-in and internal talent to not be among organizations’ biggest CX challenges.

The Payoff? Increased Loyalty

Organizations aren’t just looking at consumer expectations as a driving force for CX initiatives: many believe that they’ll see improved loyalty as a result of their efforts.

Specifically, more than 6 in 10 respondents said that a desire to improve customer loyalty is driving their CX efforts, making this the second-leading driver behind customer expectations of personalized experiences.

Moreover, businesses are prioritizing loyalty and retention, as a majority are seeing this as an objective for the enhancement of the customer experience.

Other goals that organizations hope to achieve from their CX efforts include increasing conversions (51%), growing revenue (46%) and optimizing the seamlessness of customer journeys (46%).

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: The results are based on an online survey of DMA members deployed in January 2018. The survey data is comprised of the responses of 455 respondents, including 156 marketers and 215 marketing services (including agency services) and technology providers.

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