Key Findings From the Gartner Customer Experience Survey

Marketing leaders responsible for CX are under pressure to deliver results and must step into stronger leadership and collaboration roles to produce.

Customer experience (CX) is the new marketing battlefront. More than two-thirds of marketers responsible say their companies compete mostly on the basis of CX, according to the 2017 Gartner Customer Experience in Marketing Survey. And in two years’ time, 81% say they expect to be competing mostly or completely on the basis of CX.

Validate the business value of CX and lead through collaboration or risk losing budget and influence

A majority of respondents say that marketing owns the budget for and drives the execution of CX. However, with the power embodied in marketing’s CX leadership role comes the greater responsibility to deliver results.

“Assert strong leadership throughout the organization, collaborating more widely on every aspect of CX programs,” says Augie Ray, research director, Gartner for Marketers. “Doing so enhances CX processes, improves outcomes and boosts support for CX actions.”

Marketing leads customer experience budgeting and execution

Marketing leaders responsible for CX indicate the marketing department is far more likely than other parts of the organization to own the majority of the budget for enterprisewide CX efforts. These efforts include:

  • Defining personas
  • Social listening
  • Customer segmentation
  • User experience
  • Voice of the customer

However, in a world increasingly built around collaboration, CX outcomes tend to diminish when marketing or any other single department attempts to lead and execute CX alone. CX leaders need to partner and collaborate with other departments to make improvements throughout the entire client life cycle.

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Marketing leaders may see customer experience responsibilities diminish

Many companies have a chief customer officer (CCO) or chief experience officer (CXO); some have both. The CCO and CXO are likely to report to the CMO in firms that do not expect to compete on the basis of CX in two years. Yet, in the majority of organizations with the greatest confidence that CX will be a competitive advantage in the future, the CCO and CXO are more likely to report to the CEO or COO — underscoring the need for marketing to collaborate widely and execute with excellence as CX becomes more of a strategic focus.

While expectations for the importance of CX are rising, CX budgets are not

Marketing must take and hold onto the reins of CX, as it is most likely to possess customer data and the platforms needed to analyze and understand customer wants and needs. If it fails to do so, other parts of the organization will take the CX lead, and the marketing department will be left as a cog in the company’s CX machine. In that scenario, marketing would be responsible for executing changes in touchpoints in the buying journey rather than leading a strategic revolution in experience-led, customer-centric differentiation.

CX budgets are not increasing with increased expectations

Fifty-two percent of marketers with CX responsibility expect their budgets to remain the same or decrease in 2018. While expectations for the importance of CX are rising, CX budgets are not increasing accordingly. Marketers responsible for CX must fight for and earn essential budget support by conclusively proving how CX investments improve customer relationships, as well as business and financial results.

“You must validate the business value of CX and lead through collaboration or risk losing budget and influence over the drivers of customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy,” says Ray.

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