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CEOs and CMOs shift focus towards ‘customer intimacy’

By mchamberlainqz
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

New technologies are redefining the customer relationship

Consumers are more connected, informed, and have greater choices than ever before. The top performing companies are those that are most actively adopting the same technologies as their customers to understand and engage with them, and earn repeat business. This finding is part of a new survey released by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The study, The rise of the customer-led economy*, sponsored by, surveyed 1300-plus business executives.

CEOs are re-focusing to connect better with customers

There has been a significant uptick toward prioritizing the customer relationship. The number of CEO survey respondents who say “customer intimacy” is their principal value discipline has jumped dramatically over the last three years.

CEOs are turning to CMOs to help lead that customer-centric charge. Some 93% of CMOs say their companies have refined marketing strategies to recognize the changing climate. And while understanding and targeting the customer has always been the main role of marketing, the increased emphasis on customer relationships has given the department a new significance. Marketing now has the ear of the CEO, the know-how to leverage digital and social media, and the authority and budget to move things forward.

Mobile, social, and cloud are fueling the shift

Over the next three years, execs are expecting social media, mobile apps, and cloud applications and services to become the primary means for connecting with customers. Survey respondents are reallocating their tech investments from company websites and customer surveys, and embracing the same cloud-based, and often mobile-enabled channels customers are already using in their personal lives.

The mobile app gap

One technology in particular–mobile applications–stood out in the study. Mobile is already seen as a key instrument for connecting with customers by a majority (54%) of the execs surveyed. Of those, less than half (26%) have actually deployed apps, pointing to an implementation challenge. As investments on mobile continue to rise over the next three years, businesses are hoping to close the app gap.

Execution will remain a key dependency for success, as leaders identify new use cases at the intersection of mobile, social, and cloud technologies, both for internal operations and with customers.

*For more information, read the complete study The rise of the customer-led economy available at

This article was produced by Salesforce and not by the Quartz editorial staff.

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