New CMO Council Study With SAP Reveals Customer Touchpoints Still Not Aligned to Unify Customer Experience; Success Driven by Cultures, Practices and Enabling Platforms

SAN JOSE, CA (September 15, 2014)—Marketers believe that their organizations are customer-centric and that their customers would agree. Unfortunately, marketers also reveal that this might be wishful thinking as lackluster ratings in organizations’ ability to listen, respond and effectively engage with customers in an agile, personalized manner fall well below average.

In a new survey of more than 300 senior marketing executives from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and SAP, 73 percent of respondents indicate that customer centricity is critical to the success of the business and to their own roles. However, only 14 percent say that customer centricity is a hallmark of their company, and only 11 percent of respondents believe their customers would agree with that characterization.

The new report, entitled “Mastering Adaptive Customer Engagements,” reveals that the reality of how customer experiences are being delivered and developed may not be as positive. Only 10 percent of senior marketers are highly satisfied with their organizations’ ability to listen and respond to customer needs. Other areas where marketers are questioning their capabilities to deliver on strategies and promises of good customer experience are clear:

  • Only 18 percent of respondents believe that their back-office technology platforms have the ability to deliver on marketing promises.

  • Only 10 percent of brands are highly confident in their ability to leverage data.

  • Only 20 percent of respondents have a comprehensive view of all touchpoints that make up the customer experience.

  • Only 28 percent are personalizing experiences across both online and offline experiences.

“While marketers feel confident that they are moving in positive directions with their customer engagements, there are key gaps that, left unattended, will soon start leading to disappointing experiences for a more demanding, connected and savvy customer,” noted Liz Miller, Senior Vice President of Marketing for the CMO Council.

Organizations are not just being challenged by the lack of talent needed to deliver on customer experience strategies. They lack processes that ensure the delivery and measurement of an organizationally embraced experience. And they have not deployed the technologies needed to power these engagements. According to 52 percent of respondents, customer experience success is being hindered by gaps across all three areas.

The most significant limitations that marketers are looking to address include:

  • Establishing a customer-centric culture

  • Aligning cross-functional teams to work together

  • Establishing processes to track success

  • Prioritizing customer experience as a strategy

  • Hiring the right talent to execute

“What this study emphasizes is that marketers have a tremendous opportunity to help center the focus of the organization around a holistic customer experience, and focusing on technology or channels isn’t enough; culture, strategies and talent have equal impact in advancing the engagements,” commented Bernard Chung, Senior Director of Solution Marketing for SAP. “We now have the opportunity to engage with customers like we never have before. But this will take strong cultures centered around the customer, processes that set up teams for success, and a technology foundation that can shift and move with the requirements of the customer.”

The 72-page report, available for download at, summarizes the insights of 319 senior marketers, 38 percent of whom are with organizations with more than $1 billion in revenue. More than half (52 percent) are with B2B organizations, 29 percent are with B2B companies, and 18 percent are with hybrid organizations.

Topics covered in the CMO Council’s study include:

  • Essential requirements to be a customer-centric company

  • Challenges to delivering a seamless customer experience

  • Most prevalent gaps in delivering customer experience

  • Preferred channels for customer engagement and customer listening

  • Issues around managing customer data and gaining a single source of customer truth

The full report also includes best-practice summaries from leading executives with brands including, Cardinal Health, h.h.gregg, MasterCard, McCoy’s Building Supply, Nine West Group, Prime Therapeutics, Quiksilver, Sears Holdings, Sony Electronics, SunTrust Bank, Thompson Reuters and Western Union.

About the CMO Council

The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council is the only global network of executives specifically dedicated to high-level knowledge exchange, thought leadership and personal relationship building among senior corporate marketing leaders and brand decision-makers across a wide range of global industries. The CMO Council's 7,500 members control more than $400 billion in aggregated annual marketing expenditures and run complex, distributed marketing and sales operations worldwide. In total, the CMO Council and its strategic interest communities include more than 35,000 global executives in more than 110 countries, covering multiple industries, segments and markets. Regional chapters and advisory boards are active in the Americas, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, India and Africa. The council's strategic interest groups include the Coalition to Leverage and Optimize Sales Effectiveness (CLOSE), Mobile Relationship Marketing (MRM) Strategies Forum,,, Marketing Supply Chain Institute, Customer Experience Board, Digital Marketing Performance Institute, GeoBranding Center and the Brand Inspiration Center. More information about the CMO Council is available at

About SAP

As the market leader in enterprise application software, SAP (NYSE: SAP) helps companies of all sizes and industries run better. From back office to boardroom, warehouse to storefront, and desktop to mobile device, SAP empowers people and organizations to work together more efficiently and use business insights more effectively to stay ahead of the competition. SAP applications and services enable more than 261,000 customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously and grow sustainably. For more information, visit