New ROI Frameworks for CMOs to Consider in 2021

By: Jessica Vogol, Vice President, Marketing

Chief marketing officers have been getting pinched for years, and 2020 certainly did not help the situation. Now, CMOs expect to start 2022 with 30% less marketing spend than they had at the beginning of 2019. They are also tasked with doing more and having a bigger contribution within the business as their budget and headcount continues to shrink. Much of that is because, according to Forrester, marketers are taking a great role in the customer experience (CX), especially in their tech stack and customer engagement strategies

The quandary most CMOs face–outside of the obvious “how do I do more with less?”–centers on the question of ROI and how to measure marketings’ impact on customer experience. Last year’s economic decline forced CEOs into “win now” mode, shifting their focus to revenue growth, profit growth, and stock prices. Anything that doesn’t meet the immediate needs of the business faces an uphill challenge for approval. 

Unfortunately, customer experience transformation doesn’t happen overnight. The process takes time, effort, and forethought to implement and maintain. CMOs must convince their fellow executives or board members that a long-term strategy to overhaul CX for the post-Covid world is essential to the business’s continued health. But CX is not only a marathon; it’s also a sprint. Strategizing quick wins can engender goodwill and ensure continued support from executives focused on quick wins. 

The New Normal is Here to Stay

The world is now reopening after a long, arduous lockdown that may have permanently altered how customers shop and interact with the brands they love. After the pandemic forced many people around the world into primarily online shoppers, consumers quickly adapted to the ease and convenience of purchasing goods and services from their couch. 

Even as the world slowly reopens, there’s no guarantee customers will return to in-store experiences in droves. eCommerce is set to increase 27% in 2021, up to $5 trillion globally, and is expected to reach $6.388 trillion by 2024. Companies that are not prepared for a permanent eCommerce future will struggle to meet customer expectations, especially as new technologies and innovative shopping experiences such as augmented or virtual reality make eCommerce even more immersive. 

The Heart of the Customer Experience Matter

There is overwhelming evidence that customer experience has an outsized influence on a brand’s enduring success. More than 80% of companies that actively improve their digital customer experience reported an increase in revenue. The ROI makes sense when taking into account the fact that companies with a customer-centric culture are 60% more profitable than those brands lacking a CX-first mindset.

Traditionally, marketing has supported CX initiatives, but rarely have CMOs driven the conversation or utilized their budget on customer-centric strategies. But one of the consequences of the new normal is an online consumer base that requires a deft touch at every digital point of contact. That requires CMOs and marketing executives to unify every bit of customer data, no matter how siloed, into a holistic, personalized online customer journey.

Personalization in email and mobile is now a requirement, not an option, especially as eCommerce competition increases. It’s a great big internet out there, and innovative digital-native brands pop up every day that understand the value of customer-first marketing. Those brands are chomping at the bit, doing everything they can to lure digital consumers away from companies that are still waiting for 2019 to return. 

Making the Case and Measuring ROI

While marketing budgets are decreasing, it’s clear that CX transformation requires strategic investments in new marketing technologies. CMOs should approach any new personalization or customer experience platform thinking first how it can reach the business’s new digital consumer base then how the platform can save both time and headcount. Data-activated personalization can get complicated, but there are plenty of no- and low-code solutions that streamline new processes and require fewer personnel to deploy sophisticated new customer journeys. 

The two-pronged approach to new marketing spend will help save money by only focusing on nimble software that even the smallest team can deploy. Furthermore, it’s much easier to sell new technologies to the CEO or board members if that martech can reduce spend and maximize profitability. 

Measuring and communicating ROI is a different beast altogether. Brands that are serious about integrating marketing into their digital CX strategy understand that it’s a long, winding road, and that quick fixes are necessary to make the case for organizational transformation. 

Whether CMOs are building out a new blueprint for email and mobile personalization or implementing an innovative approach to data utilization, CMOs can engender goodwill by communicating quick wins. An increase in email click-through-rates or mobile sales should be celebrated publicly. Those short-term improvements can convince leaders across the organization that marketing and digital CX are necessary to succeed in the post-COVID world. 

The time for a digital customer experience evolution is yesterday, yet senior leaders have less money to create higher sophistication. By focusing on agile marketing technology that transforms data into sophisticated personalization, CMOs can develop a digital CX strategy that delivers quick wins and long-term success.

For more information on how Movable Ink can revolutionize your email and mobile marketing campaigns request a demo today.