While gaining customer trust getting more difficult every day, the CMO role is evolving, confirmed the Fourth annual State of the CMO research.

Keeping a firm eye on customer trust, growing the confidence in proving the marketing’s worth, and ever-changing customer technology purchasing dynamics – remain just a few of the key findings mentioned in this year’s State of the CMO study by CMO.

As per the State of the CMO research program’s fourth annual edition – the top customer priority identified by industry-wide marketing leaders both before and during the COVID-19 the crisis is developing a trusted brand-consumer relationship. This can come in trumps over price, product enrichment, quality, and innovation.

In addition, over seven in 10 respondents got nominated ‘being customer-led’ as the top growth driver for their organizations today. Against this, the current year’s report suggests that marketers playing a critical role in leading the customer charge. Six in 10 confirmed overseeing the customer experience function within their business, along with customer analytics, while half of the surveyed had their own CX strategy either in their own right or collaboratively with executive peers.

COVID-19 is Driving Stronger B2B Customer Experiences

Yet even as this pushes customer emphasis further, a gap was presented between the CMO agenda, and how marketers measure their success. For instance, the majority of CMOs said they still leverage customer acquisition as one of the most dominant metrics for gauging success, against particular measures, for instance, customer lifetime value.

When probed for specific metrics used to prove the marketing’s value, campaign metrics by program came to be about 78%, followed by sales revenue at 71% and Web or mobile traffic of around 65%. Among other highlights of this current report is a double-digit rise YoY in chief marketing officers’ ability to prove marketing’s ROI quantitatively, with about three-quarters confident in their capability to do so.

Unique to this year’s report, it is also crucial to look into how the COVID-19 crisis has impacted budgets, priorities, and focus areas for different marketing functions. When enquired about marketing budgets in the current COVID-19 environment compared to 2020 projected budgets, for example, over half of all respondents had experienced a slight decrease, with just 50% of businesses seeing budget cuts by at least 10%.

Customer Experience – B2B Enterprises Are Focusing on Three Main Factors

However, it’s noteworthy that nearly 20% said they’d see their budgets increase during the pandemic. When asked about how to be optimistic about the state of marketing right now, the majority of respondents found to be either ‘very optimistic’ or ‘somewhat optimistic’ despite the unprecedented challenges and changing operating environments businesses find themselves in at this current time.

Considering customer technology procurement, a significant change that has been witnessed YoY is a decrease in CMOS with single purchasing decision-making power over sourcing and procurement. Just over one in five reported enjoying the sole purchasing decision-making power, down 10% year-on-year. In the meanwhile, 59% reported joint purchasing decision-making power with the digital or IT team, a rise of 10% compared to 2019.

The study has arguably highlighted the growing and maturing scope of customer technologies, encompassing everything from marketing automation, campaign management, and CRM tools, into whole-of-customer experience management cutting across all functions of an organization.

According to Sam Barker, Lead Analyst at Juniper Research and author of the study, as mentioned in the company blog post – “CPaaS vendors must demonstrate the additional value their platforms can provide to brands and enterprises, with payments services being the primary way by which CPaaS vendors can increase their market appeal.”