Changing Customer Requirements Compound Problem
NEW YORK; Aug. 11, 2010 � Marketing executives responsible for driving corporate growth are being hampered in their efforts by insufficient budgets, skills shortages and inadequate tools, according to a new study by Accenture (NYSE: ACN). The study, �Onward and Up � How Marketers Are Refocusing the Front Office for Growth,� also found that marketers today are increasingly challenged by their companies� customers who demand greater value, quality and service.
The 400 senior marketing executives surveyed for the study across Asia Pacific, Europe and North America said their top strategic objectives include improving operational efficiency, increasing profitability and responding effectively to change. However, the barriers they said they must overcome to achieve those objectives, include: inefficient business practices (cited by 21 percent of marketers), inadequate funding or other resources (17 percent), insufficient integration with other business functions (15 percent), a lack of required skills (13 percent) and lack of access to the customer data they need (6 percent).
Additionally, only 23 percent of the marketers said their organizations excelled in customer analytics, innovation, customer engagement and marketing operations at the same time and 33 percent said they did not perform well in any of those areas.
To achieve their growth objectives, marketers most frequently said they must master customer analytics (cited by 65 percent of the marketers), offer innovation (64 percent) and improve customer engagement and marketing operations (57 percent each).
�Given the changing competitive landscape, customer analytics will be the prerequisite for marketers� success,� said Dave Rich, managing director of Accenture Customer Relationship Management consulting group and Accenture Analytics. �The insights that can be gained from the data will help marketers identify what customers want and predict how they need to act differently to help steer corporate innovation that can drive improved business outcomes. It also can provide guidance for engaging with customers via the right channels, with the right offerings and messages.�
However, marketers most frequently said they did not make effective use of online communities (cited by 43 percent of marketers), direct mail and telemarketing (37 percent); new digital marketing (34 percent); and online advertising (31 percent).
�As marketers up their game, those who streamline their operations and increase their effectiveness will free up much needed cash, enabling them to further invest in capabilities that can help them fuel growth,� said Nick Smith, Accenture�s lead executive for CRM Marketing Transformation. �Beefing up those capabilities will contribute to marketers� abilities to target their sweet spots, and as they do, they�re likely to eliminate waste as a byproduct of executing marketing programs that are much more laser focused.�
The three business issues the marketers most frequently said they want to address are customer retention and loyalty, new customer acquisition and sales numbers among existing customers. But they reported that changes in customer expectations are impacting their marketing strategies. For instance:
- 72 percent of them said that �most or all� of their customers expect more value for money.
- 71 percent said customers have higher product quality expectations.
- 69 percent said customers are increasingly price sensitive.
- 68 percent said customers have higher customer service expectations.
- 66 percent said customers expect businesses to have greater respect for their time.
�It all boils down to meeting customer expectations,� Rich said. �Organizations that understand their customers will be the best positioned to achieve their growth strategies in the face of increasingly difficult challenges.�
To complete the online study, 400 senior executives working for companies in nine countries, including Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States were surveyed between November 2009 and January 2010. The majority of the respondents (82 percent) worked for companies with annual revenues exceeding $1 billion. Others in Australia and India were employed by companies with revenues in excess of $500 million.
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with more than 190,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world�s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments.