A new study conducted by The CMO Club and IBM titled, “Marketing Is a (Buyer) Journey, Not a Destination,” found that 50 percent of CMOs plan to increase spending by an average of 50 percent across all stages of the buyer journey over the next two years.
The study points out that marketing has traditionally focused on acquiring leads, expanding awareness and “stuffing the top of the purchase funnel.” This is no longer sufficient. Marketing’s role continues to expand, and as a result, how companies allocate dollars within the marketing budget must change as well.
Historically, marketing dollars have been heavily weighted toward awareness and acquisition campaigns. Today, the dollars must be applied to not only securing prospects but also converting these individuals into long-term and loyal customers. That means more investments are required across all three phases of the customer experience — the self-service, sales process and post-purchase phases of the customer journey. More specifically, marketers must develop strategies for pulling the customer through the journey with clear, connected and consistent messaging.
To achieve messaging consistency through every stage of the customer experience, organizations are engaging strategic messaging consulting partners to help them develop a comprehensive Corporate Messaging Platform that can be activated across multiple touchpoints. By delivering a clear, consistent and connected message, companies are able to increase brand preference, customer retention, loyalty and, ultimately, share of wallet.
The study also states, “… marketers have recognized the need and are beginning to shift priorities toward retention and loyalty and driving customer advocacy across each interaction point, from discover and learn to use and advocate.”
That’s why marketing investments are also being shifted to internal organizational change initiatives that include formal training, education and internal communications programs. These programs are also rooted in the Corporate Messaging Platform and drive the mindset and behavioral changes required for employees to bring the story to life in customer conversations.
Make no mistake about it: Marketing’s role and influence has grown well beyond branding campaigns. And while the corporate message should be something every CMO owns, it is now their job to pull that story through the entire customer experience. This will require new and expanded strategies that are co-developed and implemented with executives across the organization (sales, HR, customer support, professional services, etc.). And as the study indicates, it will lead to fundamental changes in how marketing executives allocate the priceless dollars that exist within their marketing budgets.
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