After plowing through dozens of charts from the February 2013 version of The CMO Survey – filled mostly with useless numbers – we found three we consider to be constructive (our multi-part series began here).
First up was a table of data showing to what extent “CMOs” say they lead certain business activities. Among the list was “Targeting/Market Selection.” Once again, a horrible question, combining two words with varied meanings. But let’s take on faith that survey respondents understood it to mean “segmentation and targeting of prioritized customer groups.”
Over the past four surveys conducted by The CMO Survey, the percentage of senior marketers who say the Marketing department leads this activity has never been above 40%.
This implies that there are loads of companies around who still choose to let Product Management, Sales, Media or – God forbid – Finance decide how customer segments are defined, and which ones to focus investment on.
It goes against the fundamentals of segmentation and targeting to focus only on product affinity or demographics or purchase behavior. These are all one-legged segmentation stools.
Second, we came across a chart that, to some extent, helps explain why Marketing might not be sitting in the driver’s seat on segmentation. A new question in the most current version of the survey asked respondents to cite how their Marketing departments are organized, either by “customer groups” or by “product groups.”
Once again, we were astounded by the results.
Almost three-quarters of companies’ marketing departments are organized by product line. So much for talking about “customer centricity” all these years.
Finally, a chart with results for the answer to where the marketing team is located. The choices were Corporate, Business, Brand/Product, or Field Offices (forget for a moment that this is one more poorly formatted answer set).
The percentage choosing “Corporate” actually increased, from 80% last August to 86% in the February 2013 version. Again, given recent trends in decentralization (as well as “getting closer to the customer”), this seems odd.
It is certainly more cost-efficient to centralize Marketing. But it's a loser for effectiveness, and cedes power and “trench” insight to Sales. Which is why Sales always wins every argument it has with Marketing.
Oh, that future surveys would pursue issues like the three surfaced here, summarized as follows:
>>> Giving Marketing control of customer segmentation
>>> Organizing Marketing by customer segments
>>> Better balancing the “Corporate” versus “Field” Marketing dilemma
But they won’t.
Our series on The CMO Survey, now completed, was merely six trees falling in a forest where no human sets foot. Thus, no sound.