As chief marketing officers (CMOs) shift priorities toward customer retention, loyalty and advocacy, they are looking to invest more in content marketing, according to new research from The CMO Club and IBM.
According to the report, “Marketing is a (Buyer) Journey, Not a Destination,” 57 percent of CMOs expected their budgets to increase over the next two to three years, with a 52 percent traditional and 48 percent digital spending split. Content marketing is playing a major role in this shift. CMOs reported that content generation would be their biggest expenditure, accounting for 13 percent of their increasing budgets, followed by digital advertising (11 percent), traditional advertising (11 percent) and analog physical activities (11 percent).
“Customers are central to the buyer journey today, which requires marketers to provide every single consumer with a unique experience. Content can be an educator for a brand, ensuring that consumers have a consistent and personalized experience throughout their buying journey,” says Hannah Egan, product strategy specialist at IBM Commerce.
With more budgets, CMOs are shifting priorities toward customer retention, loyalty and advocacy across every touch point, according to the report. On average, marketing budgets are being invested evenly across the buyer journey, with the highest investment at the Buy stage (21 percent), followed by Discover (20 percent), Learn (16 percent), Try (16 percent), with Advocate (14 percent) and Use (13 percent). And CMOs are planning to increase spending in each stage by an average of 50 percent, according to the report.
“Paying attention to the full customer journey all the way from discovery to advocacy is key to nurturing a long lasting customer relationship and bringing consumers back to your brand,” Egan says. “When you look at the increasing marketing budgets, don’t only use them for promotion when your clients discover your product, but really treat the client journey as a relationship-builder.”
CMOs are also looking to be multi-taskers in the digital age, according to the report, as they consistently rank social, website, email, digital and apps as their preferred tactics within each buyer stage.
Egan believes that by diversifying their marketing baskets, CMOs are able to hedge their investments. But in the process, marketers should develop different segments based on their customer base first and then experiment with different tactics applicable, she suggests. For example, if you want to target Millennial professionals, you may want to spend more on social.
“Social and mobile are becoming catalyst,” she says. “Not only in retail, but also in areas like financial services and insurance, marketers are moving to think of social and mobile as an investment for customer attention and advocacy because it’s important to engage with customers at any point.”
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