SYDNEY: Nearly two-thirds (63%) of marketers in Australia and New Zealand believe customer experience (CX) will differentiate their brand over the next five years, but just a third (33%) feel their CX offerings are "very" or "quite" advanced, a new report has found.

Research firm Econsultancy teamed up with marketing agency Epsilon to question 350 client-side and supply-side marketers in both countries and found that customer experience remains a struggle for many.

More than half of respondents (53%) said they were "not very advanced" when it comes to customer experience – they had done some ad hoc tactical initiatives, but had no real plan or technology in place to support them. The remainder said that they were "immature" or had not even started on CX initiatives.

Many marketers in Australia and New Zealand don't fully understand their own brand's customer journey, the survey revealed, with only 50% claiming an intermediate level of knowledge about how their customers interact with their product or service.

A lack of budgetary commitment to CX within organisations also may be holding back dedicated initiatives.

Although 87% of respondents said they had a team responsible for customer experience within their organisation, only a third (34%) said they had allocated a dedicated budget for customer experience – mostly because respondents are pulling the money to pay for it from other dedicated budgets.

Among those describing their CX efforts as advanced, nearly half (48%) use budget allocated to other areas to pay for CX work.

As for how marketers measure the success of CX work, business outcomes emerged as the primary yardstick of success. Nearly half (45%) of company marketers said they look at "increased conversion rates" to measure ROI while a similar proportion (43%) said they used "increased sales".

However, Net Promoter scores are popular among those with advanced CX programmes, with 46% relying on this metric.

Data sourced from Econsultancy; additional content by Warc staff