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EpsilonEconsultancy-Digital-Evolution-Leaders-Followers-Aug2014Almost all – 96% of – executives from Global 1,000 companies say that their markets and business models are being pressured by the shift to digital, but some are more prepared than others, according to a new report [download page] from Econsultancy and Epsilon. The study outlines a variety of differences between those companies that identify their response as “changing our sector” (Leaders: 19% of respondents) and those that are “under pressure / vulnerable” (Followers: 36% of respondents).

Below, a list of some of the areas where gaps emerge between leaders and followers.

  • Customer-Centricity

While more than 6 in 10 leaders understand and measure the financial impact of being customer-centric (NPS, etc.), only 4 in 10 followers agree. Additionally, leaders are almost 3 times more likely than followers to use customer satisfaction metrics in determining executive compensation (43% vs. 16%).

  • Innovation

Leaders are significantly more likely to agree that they have a business culture that strongly promotes decision-making through experimentation (3.24 on a 5-point scale) than followers (2.7). Leaders are similarly more likely to say that innovation processes are balanced between what customers request and “breakthrough” innovation (54% vs. 37%), and are almost twice as likely to report tracking goals for encouraging innovation (60% vs. 31%).

  • Organizational Structures and Strategy

Leaders are less likely than followers to have strict roles and silos between teams (14% vs. 19%), and far more likely (20% vs. 7%) to have significant fluidity in roles and very low barriers between teams.

When it comes to strategy, 88% of leaders (as opposed to 61%) of followers have a strategic plan that is easy to apply to everyday questions, and 65% (versus 47% of followers) claim that all marketing members understand their strategic plan well enough to describe it.

  • Content’s Role and Influence

Three-quarters of leaders report that content-based “inbound” marketing now represents more than 20% of media mix investment, while slightly fewer than half of followers concur. Leaders are also more likely to say that primary insights for new content are customer-driven.

  • Social Interactions

Leaders are almost 40% more likely than followers to use technology for social media monitoring (77% vs. 56%) and are more than 40% as likely to to respond in a timely fashion to consumers’ social queries and comments (83% vs. 59%).

  • Mobile

Roughly 7 in 10 leaders report that mobile is a top factor in making all marketing and customer service infrastructure decisions, while only half of followers concur. Leaders are also more likely to enjoy a strong understanding of the user experience requirement of mobile (69% vs. 50%) and to be currently studying how mobile users’ behaviors differ from desktop users (74% vs. 63%).

  • Talent

Leaders are almost twice as likely as followers to have defined processes for developing digital skills (65% vs. 34%) and are far more likely to have performed a marketing-wide skills assessment for digital in the last 12 months (71% vs. 45%).

  • Marketing Technologies and Capabilities

About 4 in 10 leaders say that their digital marketing technologies empower everything they do; just 1% of followers can say the same. Followers are trailing in their ability to take advantage of marketing technology, finding it harder to integrate new technologies into marketing systems, extract full value from data sources and technologies, and integrate new data sources into existing systems and processes.

While few organizations overall have access to a “single customer view’ that integrates all of their customer data sources, this has been achieved by 40% of leaders as opposed to 29% of followers.

About the Data: The Digital Evolution Survey was fielded by Econsultancy via multiple third-party panels on April 2nd 2014 and closed on June 24th 2014, garnering 442 responses. Participants were given an incentive to compete the survey.

The study focused exclusively on companies with over $1.5 billion in annual revenues, roughly in alignment with the top 1,000 global organizations. Respondents were in North America and limited to positions of Director or above. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of the resulting sample is in senior leadership (VP or above) and 36% is from the C-suite or board level.

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