How Retail CMOs Aren’t Meeting Their Highest Marketing Priorities

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Over two-thirds of retailers think they aren’t meeting the demands of hyper-adoptive consumers, according to a new report from retail tech company Bluecore and Forrester Consulting, “Align Technology, Data And Your Organization To Deliver Consumer Value.” With 39 percent of all offline sales influenced by digital channels, the report explores retailers’ current marketing obstacles, solutions to which we’re addressing with insight from Sherene Hilal, VP, product marketing and business operations at Bluecore.

Forty-five percent of respondents cited customer acquisition as one of their highest marketing priorities for 2020, followed by 39 percent who said customer experience. Despite this, only 20 percent and 21 percent of respondents believe they’re effective at their two top-priority objectives—customer acquisition and customer experience—respectively. Why? Because 50 percent of respondents are only spending 30 percent or less of their time on these high-priority objectives.

“We’ve seen major roadblocks in winning new customers, improving personalized and omnichannel experiences due to legacy technology that is unable to deliver 1:1 communications and operational gaps between CMO/CIO teams, so honing in on alleviated pressure on those two fronts will help CMOs to deliver on their top objective,” says Hilal.

To become effective at winning new customers, Hilal suggests that retail CMOs re-evaluate their tech stack annually to take stock of the capabilities that they have, but also the overlap that may be producing workflow bottlenecks, data fragmentation and organizational silos. By doing so, Hilal says, CMOs can continuously see speed to return on investment (ROI) and continued competitive business goals. CMOs should also work closely with their CIO partners to determine shared goals around key business metrics (i.e. lowering acquisition costs, driving repeat purchases) because the tech and marketing sides of house need to work together in order to drive those metrics.

The report also found that retailers are struggling to deliver personalized, omnichannel experiences—just 30 percent say they’re effective at this. Hilal notes that CMOs must define personalization for their organization and focus on outcomes versus features—Request for Proposals (RFP) are a one-size-fits-all approach versus a Proof of Concept (POC) tailored to the outcome you are looking for from personalization.

On the other hand, a Gartner study released in 2019 found that 80 percent of marketers will ditch personalization efforts by 2025 due to a lack of ROI and negative consumer perceptions surrounding data privacy.

Access to real-time data may also be affecting retailers’ ability to keep up with consumers’ increased rate of product adoption and demand for experience as 42 percent of respondents say it takes a few days to receive campaign or audience data requests. Whereas only 10 percent claim to have access to data in real-time or near real-time.

Says Hilal, “Many retail CMOs think that gathering all their data into one system, like a CDP, is the answer to receiving campaign and audience data in real-time, however, there is no activation layer to be able to execute so not only are you not getting ‘real-time,’ you are creating choke points between your audience layer and campaign layer.”

According to Hilal, CMOs must demand a set of minimum required capabilities from their tech that innately supports real-time access and execution of audience data for campaigns. The modern tech that natively unifies customer, behavior, and product data to provide affinity, trend and engagement insights, along with AI-driven recommendations and workflows that directly support retail business objectives, is the solution, she says.

The findings are based on surveys given to 307 marketing technology decision-makers in the US and Europe between July-November 2019. Sixty-two percent of respondents represent apparel and footwear, 50 percent home goods, 43 percent health and beauty and 34 percent luxury goods, with many overlapping categories.

This article first appeared on a.list

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