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ForbesInsightsSitecore-Use-of-CLV-Sept2014A recent survey of global marketers found a greater focus on customer acquisition than retention, and a new Forbes Insights and Sitecore survey [download page] of North American senior executives indeed finds that attracting new customers is considered a greater priority for marketing organizations today than turning current customers into customers for life. And while more than three-quarters say that average customer lifetime value (CLV) is a highly or extremely valuable indicator, only 58% regularly calculate it.

Indeed, 24% have no plans to calculate it or just don’t know, while 47% don’t know potential maximum CLV.

The finding harks back to the focus on acquisition, as a plurality 49% of respondents are most focused on acquiring new customers for revenue growth. But marketing technology also plays a role: while 94% believe that keeping customers for life is at least a somewhat high priority, only 49% of those are satisfied with how their current marketing technology supports that goal.

The array of tools in use is also a factor: respondents average 36 different data-gathering systems and vendors for marketing efforts, per the study, with some using hundreds. So while 53% prioritize developing a single view of each customer (a high priority for marketers around the world), they’re faced with technological challenges such as multiple/duplicate records (41%), too many systems/difficulty keeping track of where data is housed (38%) and siloed data (37%). (Similar challenges have been cited in a recent Experian survey.)

As a result, 62% of respondents believe it’s a priority to create a single, central customer marketing database that houses customer experience information, and 59% feel that it’s a priority to have a single system to deliver customer experiences across all potential digital channels.

See here for global marketers’ top tactics for increasing customer lifetime value.

About the Data: The study is based on a survey of 312 senior executives based in North America conducted by Forbes Insights in July 2014. The respondents represented a broad range of industries. Twelve percent were CEO/president/managing director, 17% other C-level, and 61% SVP/VP/director. All companies represented had at least $500 million in revenue; 30% had $1 billion to $9.9 billion in revenue; and 19% had $10 billion or more in revenue.

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