The CMO Council study, based on input from 287 global senior marketers, revealed the degree to which marketers are embracing new digital channels and content management technologies to increase the value of customer engagements.
According to the council, content has become vital to the way companies and brands acquire and grow customer relationships, yet many marketers fail to connect content and commerce.
The study found that only 5% of respondents have highly integrated content and commerce. However 64% say they have plans or existing programmes to improve this.
While few marketers feel they are doing an exceptionally bad job at integrating their content and commerce strategies (only 11% admit they are poorly integrated), the majority of respondents (37%) are hoping that a cycle of steady improvement will win the race.
The study also shows that marketers have embraced the importance of the digital experience and its ability to shape and influence customers.
Nearly half of respondents (49%) believe that digital experiences can deliver a more compelling customer experience, while 40% believe it makes it easier for customers to consume and share content and has the ability to heighten credibility, trust and authority.
But most marketers still lag in creating multi-channel digital marketing campaigns that hit the mark with diverse audiences worldwide.
Only 19% said they are extremely good or very good in this area, while 45% gave less positive ratings for their ability to captivate and engage customers through integrated mobile, web and social channels. This compares to just 21% who said they were very proficient.
Respondents were also asked which technology transformations are most likely to impact how companies engage with customers.
Topping the list was the advent of the smarter digital enterprise, with a focus on automation and customised interactions.
Next was the new API-driven economy, where partners share mobile and web links, information and insights to add value and further monetise transactions and interactions.
Thirdly, senior marketers recognised the disruptive potential of the “Internet of things”, which has the ability to gather real-time data and intelligence through pervasive, sensor-based tracking of behaviour, intention and satisfaction.
“Driven by the forces of cloud, mobile and social engagement, businesses and brands are experiencing a digital disruption that is revolutionising every interaction with their diverse audiences,” says Gary Dolsen, vice president of digital experience software for IBM Systems.
“When marketers create a personalised and tailored interaction for a specific audience on the right platform, businesses and brands will create emotional engagements, which will grow relationships and encourage loyalty while influencing behaviour or purchase decisions,” he says.