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Merkle Executive Survey: Effective Customer Relationship Marketing Drives High-Growth Performance

July 15, 2013
Columbia, MD

Merkle (www.merkle.com), a leading customer relationship marketing (CRM) firm and the nation’s largest privately held agency, today announced the results of a survey of 352 senior-level, US-based executives in $1+ billion organizations.  The new report, Customer-Centric Transformation: Five Keys to Leading Successful Change, found high-growth companies more effectively use data to segment consumers, develop insights about people’s interests and behaviors and better engage with customers based upon their value than low-growth Fortune 1000 organizations.

There is a clear divide in executive attitudes toward CRM between high-growth and low-growth organizations: low-growth organizations don’t see the strategic value of CRM.  Conversely, high-growth organizations are 50 percent more likely to see CRM as a “critical way of life”, are 3.2X more likely to have top CRM talent and are 2.4X more likely to have top CRM capabilities than low-growth organizations.   

 “It’s clear that CRM is one of - if not the - most dominant and preeminent driver of business success,” said David Williams, chairman & CEO, Merkle.The most significant CRM initiatives are driven from the top, and this report will serve as a powerful reference guide for senior executives looking to get closer to their customers and achieve superior results.”

CRM success rates are still too low as two out of three initiatives (63 percent) fail the organization and/or its leader.  Across all organizations, one in two initiatives suffer due to lack of clear organizational ownership of customer insight (53 percent), while two of five suffer due to lack of management bandwidth (43 percent), lack of executive sponsorship (38 percent) or the fact that CRM is not an IT priority (38 percent).   

“In organizations, CRM success and career advancement don’t always go together. Leadership needs to go all in to connect CRM in their organization to get ahead of competitors,” said Steve LaValle, executive vice president, management consulting group, Merkle.  The five keys to successful CRM change are: executive championship, showcasing the new customer vision, redefining the operations with clarity, committing to the plan and financial outcomes and being unapologetic in implementation.

“There is a breakdown in incentives in nearly half the organizations,” said LaValle.  The link between career advancement for initiative leaders and the actual initiative success is surprisingly weak:  twenty two percent of leaders had career advancement despite delivering failed initiatives. Conversely, 16 percent of leaders delivered successful initiatives but didn’t get personal recognition for the deed.

To read the full survey report, Customer-Centric Transformation: Five Keys to Leading Successful Change, and details on methodology, visit www.merkle.com/transformation.  


About Merkle

Merkle is a leading data-driven, technology-enabled, global performance marketing agency that specializes in the delivery of unique, personalized customer experiences across platforms and devices. For more than 30 years, Fortune 1000 companies and leading nonprofit organizations have partnered with Merkle to maximize the value of their customer portfolios. The agency’s heritage in data, technology, and analytics forms the foundation for its unmatched skills in understanding consumer insights that drive people-based marketing strategies. Its combined strengths in performance media, customer experience, customer relationship management, loyalty, and enterprise marketing technology drive improved marketing results and competitive advantage. With 7,000 employees, Merkle is headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, with 21 additional offices in the US and 33 offices in Europe and APAC. In 2016, the agency joined the Dentsu Aegis Network. For more information, contact Merkle at 1-877-9-Merkle or visit www.merkle.com.

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