Marketers are taking greater ownership over CX initiatives: Survey

Gartner discovered many CX responsibilities have shifted from IT, customer service and operation teams to marketing departments in the last two years.

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Since 2017, there has been a significant increase in the number of marketers claiming “sole responsibility” over customer experience programs, according to Gartner’s 2019 CX Management Survey. Customer journey mapping, customer personas, voice of the customer programs, and user experience are all initiatives that have seen a shift in ownership, moving from “outside marketing” business units to the marketing department.

As follow up to its 2017 CX report, Gartner surveyed 400 executives last year who were either CX leaders or supported CX programs. The survey respondents were from various departments, including IT, customer service, sales, stand-alone CX teams and marketing. Respondents from marketing departments were more likely than others to claim ownership for CX initiatives, according to the survey findings, with a sizeable jump in the number of marketers taking over voice of customer and customer persona initiatives in the last two years.

CX: Who owns what?

When looking at the four specific areas of CX outlined in Gartner’s report — voice of customer, defining customer personas, customer journey mapping and user experience — marketers were more likely to take ownership in all four areas. More than half of the respondents who took full responsibility for voice of customer and customer personas were marketers.

Garter CX Survey Initiative Ownership
Gartner’s 2019 Customer Experience Management Survey

The number of marketers claiming ownership over each of the four CX initiatives has jumped since 2017, most significantly with voice of customer programs. Voice of the customer ownership by marketers has grown from 38% to 56% per the most recent survey. Nearly the same lift happened with ownership over customer personas and user experience, which both grew by 17 percentage points. (Only 37% of marketers claimed ownership of customer personas in 2017 and 32% said they owned user experience initiatives.)

Customer journey mapping saw the least movement in terms of ownership with 42% of marketers claiming full ownership in 2017 and 49% now. Considering all the moving parts involved with customer journey mapping — and the various departments that touch the customer journey experience — it’s not surprising ownership over this initiative hasn’t shifted as much.

Marketers to increase CX budgets

As marketers take over more CX duties, a large majority say they plan to increase their CX budgets in 2020 — 74% told Gartner they expect CX investments to rise either slightly or significantly this year. Approximately a fifth of the respondents said CX budgets would “stay about the same” in 2020, with only 8% reporting they expect a drop in their CX budget.

An increase in CX investments is evidence that CX initiatives are paying off and delivering measurable value. When comparing this survey’s findings to the survey it conducted just two years ago, Gartner found companies are now more likely to be able to connect the dots between positive customer experiences and increased revenue: “In 2017, less than half [of executives involved in CX] had calculated a positive relationship compared with the three-quarters of respondents who now say they have found the link between customer satisfaction and outcomes such as increased revenue and margin and reduced churn.”

Why we care

The fact that companies are now more likely to connect positive CX outcomes with lifts in revenue translates to more money being invested in customer experience programs. In terms of marketing budgets, this should be good news for the teams taking over more ownership of CX initiatives — but, unfortunately, ownership of CX budgets does not appear to be shifting to marketing as quickly as CX initiatives have.

“Even though marketing now takes more accountability for CX initiatives, evidence indicates that budget authority for CX remains significantly distributed across varied departments,” reports Gartner.

Being charged with ownership over such responsibilities — without owning the budgets to invest in the necessary tools and talent to implement and run CX programs — is problematic on several levels.

It’s imperative that marketing departments are able to lay claim to the budgets attached to initiatives like voice of customer, customer personas and customer journey mapping, especially since its the marketing and marketing operation teams managing the technology to implement and track these programs.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Amy Gesenhues
Amy Gesenhues was a senior editor for Third Door Media, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land, Search Engine Land and MarTech Today. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy's articles.

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