Some mornings as I’m writing this I feel like I’m Chevy Chase reading the news that Generalissmo Francisco Franco is still dead because so much of what crosses my digital desk as news is just so “duh.” When I read about the latest report out of the folks at IBM and Econsultancy called The Consumer Conversation Report I really did say “and Franco is still dead” out loud. Here is why.
There is a huge gap between marketers’ intentions and their customers‘ satisfaction. As the report says:
A common theme throughout this research is that brands’ belief in the strength of their customer experience doesn’t line up with their customers’ reality.
- Only one in three consumers believe that their favorite companies understand them.
- Of those consumers who switched consumer services in the last year, most did so for reasons companies should be able to predict and prevent.
- Of the nearly 50% of consumers with a significant service issue in the last 12 months, only 28% say that the company dealt with it very effectively.
That’s a pretty important point. We can’t pat ourselves on the back in business. Our partners and customers are only ones who can do that for us and in this case they’re telling us something very different. When 90% of the responding companies felt they were able to resolve customer conflicts in a satisfactory manner and not even 60% of customers felt the same way, there is a problem. Let’s call it the delusion gap – the space in between our beliefs and those of our customers. We all know that anger and frustration lie in the gap between expectations and experiences. I’d suggest that the delusion gap is a direct corollary to that difference.
We need to use all of the data we gather to develop honest answers. They might not be the ones we want to hear but they’re the beacons that point us to serving our constituencies better. If two-thirds of those groups believe we don’t understand them and we believe otherwise, someone is delusional. You?
The IBM folks have been surveying Chief Marketing Officers for quite some time and the latest results of that survey have come out.
Image via CrunchBase
You can read the study yourself by clicking through but I’d like to point out one data point that really got my attention. It was this:
It’s questionable whether CMOs are moving fast enough to keep up with the speed at which the commercial landscape is evolving, or whether they need something akin to a turbo boost…The situation is, if anything, worse than it was when we completed our last Global CMO Study. In 2011, 71 percent of the CMOs we interviewed told us they felt underprepared to deal with the data explosion. Today, a full 82 percent feel that way. Two-thirds of all CMOs also report that they’re not ready to cope with social media, which is only marginally less than was the case three years ago.
This is scary. It used to be that marketers would pay for tons of research better to understand their customers. The dream was a 360 degree view of the customer’s purchasing and media habits. Today, that dream is very viable – it’s within a marketers grasp – but only if the marketers have structured their organizations and daily routines to include analytics. I’m not just talking about web analytics but also point of sale information, real-time data from social media, and any other font of information which can be integrated to round out that view. That seems to me to be common sense and yet less than a fifth of CMO’s feel ready to deal with all of this. Put that in the context of over two-thirds of them acknowledging that digital channels will play a bigger role in their interactions with customers in the next three to five years and one concludes that the vast majority of companies are far behind where they need to be.
I’m not sure why this is. Maybe it’s an investment issue – it’s hard to find dollars to invest on new things in almost every organization. It might be a priority issue but the folks in charge seem to acknowledge the need. Maybe it’s the life-cycle of the CMO, which has always been one of the shortest tenured positions in the “C” suite. No matter what it is, it’s a tremendous opportunity for anyone who can get their company’s stuff together and leap ahead of their competitors. Will that be you?