SINGAPORE/HONG KONG: The role of the chief marketing officer is changing in the Asia Pacific region, according to a new report that highlights the growing importance being attached to customer experience.

This will be the number one customer-related priority for organisations in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan), according to the International Data Corporation (IDC), whose Asia/Pacific CMO Barometer shows that 31% of CMO roles are expanding to include customer experience and support.

"Customers may buy your products or services, but what keeps them coming back is the experience," said Daniel-Zoe Jimenez, Senior Program Manager, Big Data, Analytics, Enterprise Applications & Social Lead, IDC Asia/Pacific.

"The CMO role is evolving to incorporate new responsibilities," he added. "In other regions, we have seen organisations completely replacing this role with a Customer Experience Head."

With CMOs being expected to lead enterprise transformation around customer experience, he advised marketers to become savvier about the business, data, and customers in order to address the needs of the "empowered buyer".

"The idea of delivering greater experiences is not new," Jimenez said. "But what is different now is that organisations are increasingly focused on ensuring these initiatives are tracked and are using metrics that are closely aligned to the business."

Chief among these are increasing market share, cited by 66%, improving marketing processes, particularly measuring effectiveness (60%), and increasing customer satisfaction ratings such as the net promoter score (55%).

"The road is going to be bumpy since growing data silos are still a major challenge for many organisations," Jimenez observed.

"To be successful they [CMOs] will need to partner with the CIO … [and] establish common goals and define shared KPIs that can help them track the success of their joint initiatives."

Also, according to the IDC Asia/Pacific CMO Barometer, to achieve its KPIs CMOs have identified three key IT requirements for 2015: investing in disruptive technologies that can help gain competitive edge (25%), enabling a multi-channel environment (16%), and driving improved marketing automation and productivity (13%).

"But don't expect to achieve this just by making technology investments," Jimenez cautioned. 

"First and foremost, 'Starters' need to define their goals (with quantifiable metrics), as well as assess if their organizations' customer service culture is well aligned to their customers' priorities," he said. "Then, look at their processes (internal and external), people (skills) and technology."

Data sourced from IDC; additional content by Warc staff