“Forty-five percent of marketers say they are customer-focused, but only one-third say they have a systematic method of delivering the right message to the right person at the right time,” said Dave Frankland, senior analyst with Forrester.
The claim to customer-centricity appears more an aspiration than a fact, Frankland said. He added that only 11% of marketers say engagement is the primary factor in their customer communications.
“This tells me marketers are delusional about customer value as a key performance indicator,” Frankland said. “It doesn't make sense to claim you're customer-centric but have no engagement approach.”
The study, “Integrated, Customer-centric Marketing,” sponsored by database marketing agency Merkle Inc., polled 149 senior marketers by phone about current marketing metrics, followed by in-depth interviews with a smaller subset of marketers.
Best-practice b-to-b marketers face many of the same challenges as their consumer-oriented colleagues but typically employ different methods to encourage customer interaction.
“Leading b-to-b marketers are more likely to include events, webinars and white papers to encourage prospects to respond, but the desire is the same as with top b-to-c marketers—to engage with the customer,” Frankland said. “B-to-b challenges, however, ]include] dealing with corporate hierarchies, long buying cycles and more people influencing the buying decision.”
Merkle's senior VP-marketing, Mike Savage, agreed.
“I think that understanding the influencers, decision-makers and context strategies are all part of the same conversation,” he said. “The information captured by b-to-b and b-to-c marketers is just acquired differently.”