Keeping pace with the ever-changing dynamics of the online marketing space is no easy task. New technologies and tactics seem to crop up daily and evolve so rapidly that marketers often have difficulty deciding where to focus their efforts.
Findings from IBM showed that in the next three to five years, 82% of CMOs surveyed worldwide will increase their technology investment in social media, and 81% plan to focus on customer analytics and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, two technologies designed to help them address the impending issues and concerns surrounding the growing amount of available marketing and customer data.
Marketers are using customer data to help them better reach unique segments of their customer and prospect audiences. In fact, 61% of CMOs said they used customer data for segmentation and targeting, highlighting the desire to better understand and message their current and potential clients.
IBM’s research complements July 2011 data from ClickSquared and The Relevancy Group that found 35% of US marketers were most interested in improving data-centric segmentation and targeting practices. Learning how to integrate and leverage social data was another top priority for 30% of marketers.
The ability to target and segment customers using CRM tools and customer analytics highlights a larger strategic desire to improve customer loyalty and advocacy shared by two-thirds (67%) of the CMOs in the IBM study.
In addition, 56% of respondents looked to leverage social media as a key engagement channel for customers and prospects, and the same percentage of CMOs also hoped to manage these customers through the use of integrated software suites, which could include tools like CRM or marketing-automation software.
The emphasis placed on social media strategy and customer analytics and data management largely reflect marketing aspects CMOs felt they had most room to improve: 71% felt unprepared to leverage the large amounts of data that continue to flood the online marketing space and 68% marked social media for improvement.