• August 6, 2021
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Forrester: Customer Experience Improvements to Be a Key Priority for the Next 2 Years

The events of 2020 challenged organizations like never before, and 2021 has been about charting new paths to be more customer-obsessed, Forrester Research noted its 2021 Annua Global Marketing Survey report.

The report also points out that the events of the past year have accelerated a shift that was already in motion, with dramatic changes in buyer behavior, evolving business models, and fast-paced technological advances transforming the role of the chief marketing officer.

But, with COVID-19 still looming, this year's survey also found very different paths to recovery for different sectors and geographical regions. While organizations in some industries and regions believe the worst is behind them, others report the opposite.

More North American marketing leaders, for example, reported that their organizations experienced significant (50 percent or more) revenue contractions than their European and Asia-Pacific counterparts. And, compared to when the pandemic began, North American businesses have worsened, with more respondents reporting they are now in survival mode.

"Some organizations have been able to tap into new business opportunities or adapt in response to disruptions. However, others are still in an economic slump compared to where they were in the beginning of the pandemic," Jennifer Ross, a Forester vice president and research director, wrote in a blog post yesterday,

As part of ongoing changes, Forrester observed the following shifting priorities:

  • 56 percent of global marketers say that improving customer experience will be their top focus area over the next two years. To succeed, marketers must not only understand customers' complex needs and motivations; they must also empathize with customers' challenges to deliver exceptional experiences, the firm advises.
  • Improving productivity is the primary growth strategy, as reported by 24 percent of respondents.
  • 35 percent agree that improving alignment and collaboration with other departments will be most important to support their marketing priorities.
  • 57 percent plan to increase their marketing expense in 2021.
  • 42 percent plan to add or enhance marketing strategy and planning ;within the next two years.

Ross urges companies to take the positive marketing practices learned in 202 and insights from the survey and understand the following:

  • Customer experience will continue to take center stage. During the pandemic, organizations recognized that focus and commitment to customer relationships was integral to weathering the economic challenges of the past year. CEOs will continue to look to CMOs for data on complex customer needs, insights, and opportunities. B2B CMOs will also need to effectively connect and empathize with the emotional decision-makers that B2B buyers have become.;
  • Cross-functional alignment and collaboration are essential to growth CMOs are uniquely positioned to unite the business ecosystem. The customer, partner, employee, investor, and influencer relationships are just some of the relationships marketing helps manage by creating strategies, processes, key performance indicators, and behaviors that are rooted in customer obsession.

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