Korn Ferry Survey: CMOs’ Top Priority Remains How to Best Engage with Customers

--Despite Growing Pressures to Demonstrate Stronger ROI--

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 12, 2014 — Korn Ferry (NYSE:KFY), a single source of leadership and talent consulting services, today unveiled results from its 2014 Korn Ferry Marketing Pulse Survey. Among the key findings, 80 percent of marketing executives see an increased spend on content marketing, signaling that businesses are once again putting more dollars towards their marketing efforts. Conducted by the firm’s Global Marketing Center of Expertise, the survey polled 215 CMOs and senior marketing executives from top U.S. companies.

As budgets increase, the survey indicates there’s growing pressure among marketing executives to demonstrate that their work directly contributes to bottom-line results. Fifty-seven percent of CMOs cite the inability to directly connect marketing efforts to tangible business outcomes as the top factor behind low CMO tenure. Also contributing to high turnover among CMOs is the inability to align marketing deliverables with CEO objectives (17 percent), the inability to drive organizational change (17 percent) and the inability to deliver timely results (9 percent).

Only 27 percent of marketing executives cite connecting marketing to bottom-line results as the top concern keeping them up at night. What plagues CMOs the most is the ability to create sustainable and engaging customer relationships while improving the customer experience (34 percent). Also, 27 percent say staying ahead and taking advantage of the latest digital technology trends is a main concern.

“It’s not surprising that more organizations are taking a hard look at how marketing spend impacts over-all business outcomes. What is surprising is that, despite this knowledge, many CMOs are not as focused on this part of the equation and keeping a majority of their focus on customer engagement,” said Caren Fleit, senior client partner and head of Korn Ferry's Global Marketing Center of Expertise. “Customer engagement is critical and must be a key focus, but CMOs need to remember that the overarching purpose of driving this engagement is to drive business results. In order to be successful in today’s business environment, CMOs and marketing executives need to be learning agile and strike a balance, achieving both internal and external objectives."

Helping to achieve that balance, the overwhelming majority (79 percent) of respondents say their company plans to increase the use of predictive analytics and Big Data tools, which 39 percent find particularly useful for measuring the business success of creative programs. According to the survey, digital marketing and analytical thinking are the most sought after specialized skills within the marketing function.

As the industry faces a growing list of channels in which to reach customers, marketers must determine which ones will be most beneficial to achieving their goals. Aligning with the renewed emphasis on customer engagement, customer service broke into the top five marketing channels for 2014.

 

Most popular marketing channels to engage with customers, ranked by CMOs 

Least popular marketing channels to engage with customers, ranked by CMOs

1. Facebook

12. Loyalty programs

2. Online advertising

13. Television advertising

3. Twitter

14. LinkedIn

4. Events

15. Print mailers

5. Customer service

16. Other employees

 

Given the added pressures and strategic responsibilities being placed on the marketing function, it’s more important than ever for marketers to work cohesively with other organizational functions to develop an integrated customer experience. According to the survey, respondents feel the biggest hurdle in achieving this goal is aligning the various department strategies and priorities (43 percent), followed by integrating the customer experience across all sales channels (26 percent) and developing seamless messaging across different communication platforms (14 percent).

About Korn Ferry

At Korn Ferry, we design, build, attract and ignite talent. Since our inception, clients have trusted us to help recruit world-class leadership. Today, we are a single source for leadership and talent consulting services to empower businesses and leaders to reach their goals. Our solutions range from executive recruitment and leadership development programs, to enterprise learning, succession planning and recruitment process outsourcing (RPO). Visit www.kornferry.com for more information on Korn Ferry, and www.kornferryinstitute.com for thought leadership, intellectual property and research.