Matthew Sweezey, Principal, Marketing Insights, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, discussed the key differences between a high-performing organization and an underperforming organization during his presentation to Argyle’s CMO membership at the 2016 Chief Marketing Officer Leadership Forum in Atlanta on May 26. In his presentation, “The Makings of a High Performer,” Sweezey outlined the results of a recent Salesforce survey of 4,000 marketers that examined high-performing organizations and underperforming organizations.
According to Sweezey, the majority of marketers are somewhat happy or unhappy with their organizations’ current marketing efforts. However, marketers who are members of high-performing organizations said they believe that their businesses are performing better than the direct competition.
So what separates a high-performing organization from an underperforming one?
Sweezey pointed out “executive buy-in” is paramount. And with executives who are dedicated to developing a high-performing organization, marketers can enjoy consistent support from a business’ leaders.
“Executive buy-in is not just that we need a marketing department,” Sweezey said. “What your executives must buy into is a new idea of what marketing is.”
Marketing is not a “pretty picture” department, Sweezey noted. Instead, marketers serve as “owners of the experience” and must do whatever they can to ensure a company’s customers enjoy great experiences day after day.
“If you’re executives do not understand that, you do not have executive buy-in,” Sweezey said.
Budget also remains crucial for marketers at high-performing organizations, and perhaps it’s easy to understand why.
Executives who support marketers usually will provide these marketers with the budget they need to succeed.
“Executive buy-in is not just that we need a marketing department. What your executives must buy into is a new idea of what marketing is.”
As such, “executive sponsorship” of what that new idea of what marketers must be is essential in organizations of all sizes, Sweezey noted.
“Budgetary constraints are the number one reason that marketers say that they do not invest in a holistic customer experience,” Sweezey said. “[Marketers] can’t do it because executives don’t buy into that idea and won’t appropriate the budget to do that.”
Of course, the latest technologies play important roles for high-performing marketers as well.
These marketers understand the importance of delivering a personalized customer experience, i.e. a customer experience that includes sending messages and offers to the right audience member at the right time.
As a result, high-performing marketers typically will use a variety of tools day after day in the hopes of generating actionable customer insights and improving the customer experience.
“Traditional marketing can be dynamically generated by technology,” Sweezey noted. “These higher performers have had higher budgets for a long time and currently use, on average, 13 different tools to create a holistic customer experience. Underperformers use five.”
Using technology can make it easier for marketers to track the return on investment (ROI) of their marketing efforts, too.
Technology can empower marketers to better understand a business’ target audiences and work toward fostering long-lasting partnerships with these consumers.
Furthermore, technology may enable marketers to better justify their decisions to executives and get the budget they need to leverage new tools consistently.
“If executives believe in [an idea], they will be willing to take the risk because they know that’s where they have to go,” Sweezey said. “They may say, ‘Well, this didn’t work,” but this idea that we’re holding on to is the right idea, and let’s just figure out how to make it work.”
Delivering a consistent omni-channel experience to customers is becoming exceedingly important for businesses worldwide, and high-performing brands often succeed in providing their customers with dependable assistance, regardless of channel.
Also, today’s customers expect businesses to be able to deliver a consistent experience across all channels. Failure to do so, meanwhile, often separates an underperforming organization from a high-performing one.
“[Omni-channel] actually means that you have to have the same experience for the same person everywhere,” Sweezey said. “Seventy-five percent of your consumers expect you to know them and treat them as an individual on any channel, at any time. If you can’t do that, you can’t have a positive and holistic brand.”
High-performing marketers are 71x more likely to be excellent at creating a single customer view than underperformers, according to Sweezey.
“If executives believe in [an idea], they will be willing to take the risk because they know that’s where they have to go.”
Thus, marketers who focus on offering dependable support to customers, regardless of channel, will be better equipped to assist clients both now and in the future.
How marketers approach channels and experience may dictate an organization’s success in building long-term partnerships with its clients as well.
Sweezey noted that high-performing marketers commonly are able to see at least 2x to 3x the value from the same channels as underperformers, as high performers leverage a wide range of channels to engage consumers.
Lastly, the customer experience involves more than just marketers, and high-performing organizations frequently make the customer experience a collaborative one that involves various departments.
Sweezey pointed out that high-performing marketers are 17.1x more likely than underperforming ones to thrive when working with other business units. This shows that high-performing marketers are willing to collaborate with other departments regularly, and ultimately, ensure all departments within an organization can work together to improve the customer experience.
Mathew is Principal of Marketing Insights at Salesforce.com. Mathew is a new breed of marketer born digital and social. A consummate writer, he authors a column for Clickz.com on marketing automation, writes for multiple blogs and has been featured in publications such as Marketing Automation Times, Moz, Mashable, DemandGen Report and Marketing Sherpa and is the author of Marketing Automation for Dummies (Published by Wiley February 2014). His work has been quoted in several books, including “The Digital Marketer” and “The ReTargeting Playbook,” and his next book is scheduled to release September of 2015.