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Marketers Lack Customer Touch, According to CMO Council/NetLine Study

As Customer-Centric Programs Grow, Survey Reveals Weak Targeting, Acquisition and Retention Strategies

PALO ALTO, CA (May 3, 2006)

While marketers are clearly making customer development a priority, they have a significant disconnect with the realities that drive effective targeting, acquisition and retention, according to a new Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council study.

The findings show that a significant number of marketing organizations do not have a model or profile of their best customer prospects or opportunities; have no formal system for tracking marketing's role in customer acquisition, retention and value creation; and face big challenges with complex data and system integration, as well as competing departmental goals and priorities.

The study, underwritten by NetLine Corp. and fielded to over 550 marketing professionals in Q1 2006, explores the systems and practices used by companies to identify, profile, activate and retain valued customers, and also examines the marketing organization's level of customer knowledge, insight and visibility, along with the segmentation methodologies and approaches used to target the best prospects and the most profitable opportunities.

A Webinar featuring customer program insights from top marketers was conducted April 26, 2006. To receive a copy of the full report, click here.

Among the Key Findings:

  • Three top factors prevent optimal customer insight and intimacy: data and system integration requirements that are too complex; competing departmental goals and personalities; and an under-appreciation of such efforts with the company.
  • There is little formal customer feedback, asnearly three-quarters of respondents did not control and run a customer advisory board or council. Of those who did have such a board, only 6 percent said it was "very critical" in product co-innovation. Nearly 75 percent said they did not manage and interact with a formal online community of users or buyers, and over two-thirds did not have a formal customer word-of-mouth program in place.
  • Nearly 30 percent of respondents said the CEO or business unit heads influence or determine customer segmentation and targeting, leaving marketing with little control over this critical process.
  • Marketers said the majority of customer conversations and interactions are driven by the sales organization, supporting sales' oft-used claim that "marketing does not know the customer."
"Given the awesome power that today's customer wields, it's critical that marketers raise their level of customer knowledge, insight and reach," said Donovan Neale-May, executive director, CMO Council. "The results of this study show that marketers have a long way to go in improving strategies, processes and methodologies to achieve maximum customer acquisition, retention and profitability."

"Our recent partnership with the CMO Council has deepened our insight and gained us a greater understanding of our prospect and customer base," comments Werner Mansfeld, president and CFO, NetLine Corporation. "The study results are aligned with what we've encountered in the marketplace, and confirm our position, strategies, and process to better serve our customers."

The Select & Connect survey was fielded by media partner BtoB Magazine, as well as affiliate partners the Promotion Marketing Association (PMA); American Marketing Association (AMA); Sales & Marketing Institute (SMI); and Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS).
About the CMO Council
The CMO Council is dedicated to high-level knowledge exchange, thought leadership and personal relationship building among senior marketing and brand decision-makers across a wide-range of global industries. Nearly 2,000 top marketing executives are represented on the CMO Council, accounting for well over $50 billion in aggregated annual revenues. Visit the CMO Council website to find out about the initiatives geared to address executive marketer's challenges at www.cmocouncil.org.

About NetLine Corporation
NetLine Corporation is a premier provider of lead generation and online marketing services for B2B advertisers, marketers, and publishers, specializing in delivering high-quality leads and maximizing the results of customer interactions, going beyond conventional online advertising and e-mail. Through NetLine's Lead Source, Sub Source, Email Marketing Services, and Database Marketing Solutions, NetLine enables highly effective marketing programs throughout the customer acquisition and relationship lifecycle.

NetLine's many successful client relationships include Juniper Networks, Autodesk, Taunton Publishing, and CMP, among others. Founded in 1994, NetLine is privately held and is headquartered in Los Gatos, California. For more information, please visit www.netline.com or call 888.515.3237.