Back office hampers APAC marketers

21 March 2014
SINGAPORE: Only one quarter of marketers in Asia Pacific think that their back-office systems and operational structures allow their companies to live up to their marketing claims, new research has found.

The CMO Council surveyed 245 senior marketers in 16 Asia-Pacific countries during the latter half of 2013 as part of its Maximize How You Individualize study into customer experience in the region.

Just 10% of respondents felt there was a strong alignment and synergy among functional heads when it came to ensuring a seamless experience across all customer touchpoints.

Most thought that ownership of the customer experience was fragmented and distributed across multiple titles and areas of operational responsibility, including the CMO (31%), head of service and support (10%), vice president or director of customer sales and service (9%), chief operations officer (8%), chief sales officer (6%) and chief experience officer (6%).

Moreover, only 39% of marketers felt that these individuals had the authority and budget to really influence and impact the consumer experience.

There was a widespread belief that creating a customer-centric culture needed both commitment from senior management and empowerment of employees. This would be driven by real-time market insights, more personalised engagements and higher-value, actionable information and analytics delivered across the organization, the report said.

"There is no point wasting marketing resources on seducing customers with offers, incentives and captivating branding if there is a big disconnect on the product, business policy or service experience site", said Donovan Neale-Kay, Executive Director of the CMO Council.

"You will just see churn, disaffection and bad word of mouth, which can be quite damaging in a socially connected region like Asia," he added.

The need for marketers to improve their performance was further emphasised by the finding that there is a business case for improved customer experience. Of the 23% of respondents who directly calculated the impact of customer experience on results, 42% reported that revenue had increased.

But - despite the many opportunities that now exist to capture customer sentiment, from social listening to predictive analytics - few companies in the region had systems in place.

Around one third (36%) of marketers reported having a formal CXM strategy or program in their organisation, while 24% were able to take advantage of a comprehensive view of engagements and interactions across all stages of the customer life-cycle.

And a mere 8% felt they had a well developed and fully evolved system for understanding and meeting the needs of customers.

Data sourced from CMO Council; additional content by Warc staff
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