In an interesting shift, CMOs are making a marked commitment to improving the overall customer experience. Recent research from the CMO Club and IBM shows that 57% of CMOs expect to increase marketing budgets over the next two to three years, and that most expect to allocate a larger share of their budget to the entire customer journey, rather than concentrating investment on individual channels.
Focus on retention
The research revealed that focus among CMOs is set to shift away from customer acquisition in favour of retention. As Jerry Jao, CEO and co-founder of Retention Science, underlined in a 2014 thought piece for Forbes, customer choice is rapidly expanding while attention spans are contracting, prompting businesses to shift toward customer-centric engagement strategies and personalisation.
This trend is further highlighted in studies carried out by organisations such as the Gartner Group, whose research suggests that 20% of a company's existing customers could potentially account for 80% of future revenue. Adobe also reported finding that by retaining 10% of existing customers, online retailers could double their revenue.
Deepak Advani of IBM Commerce agrees: "The brand/customer dynamic is no longer built on isolated interactions. It's an ongoing relationship that must span all touch points in the customer's journey."
The role of content
Perhaps the greatest challenge for CMOs committed to optimising customer journeys is identifying how best to engage customers across multiple channels, and how to provide a consistent, seamless experience across those channels. The obvious answer to this conundrum is 'through content'.
Content marketing, native advertising and social media are becoming increasingly significant tools for brands that are keen to engage their audiences in a meaningful, long-term way. Google's Matt Bush advocates "content you can give people that actually helps them in their quest". In other words, understanding customers' needs and serving them helpful or entertaining content that answers their questions at every step in their purchase journey – including post-conversion.
It's likely that retention-focused strategies will rely heavily on insights from data: marketers will need to have a thorough understanding of:
which channels their audience is using
where users are typically dropping off in the purchase journey
what type of content users are searching for and for which queries, and
hich types of content perform most successfully against key engagement metrics like dwell time and repeat visits.
With greater emphasis on content and data, a software solution that enables brands to produce, manage, publish and monitor content efficiently, and across multiple channels, is a vital tool for retention-focused CMOs in all industries. To find out how censhare is helping businesses to craft more effective customer journeys, take a look at our range of communications solutions.