Almost all (95%) of organizations say their customer experience (CX) is in critical need of improvement, according to a global survey of 1,440 CIOs, CTOs, CMOs and other senior decision makers, conducted by Avanade and experience management software firm Sitecore. This article is copyright 2018 The Best Customer Guide.

The research study, entitled "Connect your martech to connect with your customers", showed that more than 60% of marketing respondents believe they are leaving significant revenue and sales opportunities on the table due to their organization's marketing technology ("martech stack").

Key findings from the research included:

  • Martech is the foundation of great CX - if it is done right. However, most companies find it difficult to achieve. Two-thirds of respondents agreed that their organizations weren't very mature when it comes to understanding the customer experience, personalization and data analytics.
  • Problems with martech can impact the entire business. Without an optimized martech stack, companies struggle to deliver a consistent CX, leaving money on the table - a situation reported by more than half of marketing respondents.
  • Businesses need to rethink their martech priorities, leveraging AI and analytics to rebuild the foundation. These technologies are key to helping identify customer needs, improving customer experiences and making marketing technology future ready. But the majority of respondents have yet to adopt AI or analytics.
  • Revising team skills, training and hiring can help businesses stay competitive. Along with hiring the best talent, businesses need to focus on working with the best partners to augment skillsets and train employees for collaboration. Today, more than half of marketing respondents say their martech stack is not user friendly, and even more IT respondents say marketing employees do not receive the necessary martech training.
  • Companies can capitalize on the new roles and expanding responsibilities of the CMO, CIO and chief digital officer (CDO). Lack of collaboration across these key roles was something the majority of respondents cited as hampering their company's ability to deliver great customer experiences. Balancing technology and marketing needs is becoming a business imperative for companies to connect with their customers.

"Great customer experiences can deliver 3x the ROI to a business, but companies need to invest and optimize their marketing technology to achieve this," said Stella Goulet, chief marketing officer, Avanade. "Increased collaboration between key IT and marketing leaders is part of the equation, but identifying trusted partners is critical to building strong customer connections and helping these traditional cost centers transform themselves into core drivers of revenue."

"When there is a disjointed customer experience with a business, there is a lost competitive advantage," added Anil Gupta, executive vice president of program management, Sitecore. "IT and marketing must align to solve this challenge and leverage the right technology and a digital strategy that prioritizes a customer-centric approach, including personalized experiences and a trusted customer relationship."