Braze RFP Response

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Challenges Facing CMOs

Some examples of current challenges facing chief marketing officers regarding the provision of better experiences for customers include personalization of services, identification of the appropriate technological solutions, application of Artificial Intelligence, data acquisition and analysis, and optimization of marketing content.



  • Effective delivery of personalized content and services to customers is one of the challenges facing the chief marketing officers in relation to building better experiences.
  • Identification and fulfillment of customers' needs pose a great challenge to chief marketing officers in delivering their services to their customers.
  • A report revealed that Identification and fulfillment of customers' needs pose a great challenge to chief marketing officers in delivering their services to their customers, offering the same services.
  • Designing customers' experiences that are personalized and responsive poses a great challenge to chief marketing officers due to lack of the required skills.
  • According to a study by Researchscape International on marketers, about 55% reported they lack sufficient data and insights for effective personalization.
  • According to McKinsey, personalization can reduce acquisition costs by 50%, increase revenues by 5% to 15%, and increase the efficiency of marketing spend by 10% to 30%.
  • A report revealed, based on the consumers' buying behaviors and the explosive growth of social media, the majority of chief marketing officers wondered how to understand their customers in order to deliver effective personalized content and messaging.


  • The ability to choose the appropriate technological solution is also one of the common issues chief marketing officers are facing in building better experiences for customers.
  • Also, understanding and adaptation to technological trends and developments to provide optimum customers' experience pose a challenge to chief marketing officers.
  • Due to the complexity of the marketing technology landscape, it is imperative for chief marketing officers to understand the available technological solutions to provide the best customers' experience and also to identify the right partners to solve their technology-related challenges.


  • Lack of expertise in the application of Artificial Intelligence poses a challenge to chief marketing officers in providing a better experience for customers.
  • Artificial Intelligence with Machine Learning enables chief marketing officers to understand their customers better through access to the customers' demographics, purchase history, psychographic data from web usage patterns, and social profiles.
  • A report revealed that less than a third of chief marketing officers considered AI as a significant part of their businesses.
  • Chief marketing officers are faced with the lack of appropriate skills and companies' data for the utilization of Artificial Intelligence to provide optimum customers' engagement.
  • For effective utilization of AI, companies' required a large amount of quality data.
  • According to Gartner’s 2018 survey, it was reported that the lack of specialized skills in AI is a significant drawback for many companies.


  • Another challenge faced by chief marketing officers is the lack of the ability to integrate and interpret data garnered to identify customer needs and behavior patterns to provide seamless customers' experience.
  • A report revealed that 59% of chief marketing officers lack the capability to generate meaningful business insights from their data. It was also added that 85% of the chief marketing officers' current data infrastructure needs a major upgrade.
  • According to a recent DemandGen report, 83% of organizations reported that their biggest challenge is their outdated data.
  • A survey by RedPoint Global also revealed that 49% of chief marketing officers lack real-time customers' data.
  • Also, customers' privacy regulations impose a limitation on chief marketing officers to have access to some specific information about their consumers.


  • The constantly evolving nature of online marketing presents a challenge for chief marketing officers, due to the necessity to keep up on recent developments and to ensure that marketing strategies continued to improve customers' experience.
  • Social media, online platforms, and search engines are constantly evolving, and it is essential for chief marketing officers to apply various marketing strategies to enhance seamless customers' experience.
  • A report from Forbes revealed that chief marketing officers are quite deficient in the optimization of their contents.
  • The necessity to acquire skills and knowledge regarding the optimization of marketing contents imposes more responsibilities on chief marketing officers.


We commenced our search by scouring through various market reports, media publications, press releases, research databases, and industrial reports, such as Forbes, Inc, Market Watch, PRNewswire, among others. We focused our search on the most recent information, using the Wonder 24-month duration to identify the current challenges facing chief marketing officers in the United States. We ensured to utilize the publications within two years to address the research request. Going forward, our search yielded various challenges facing chief marketing officers in the United States in relation to building better experiences for customers or to improve customers' engagement at their respective organizations. However, the research team selected the five challenges most mentioned in the majority of the reports and publications, considering them as the current challenges facing chief marketing officers in the United States in relation to building better experiences for customers or to improve customers' engagement at their respective organizations.
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Why Customers Switch to Competitors

Some of the most common problems customers face that result in switching to a competitive brand are unhelpful staff/agents, poor personalization in recommendations or experience, difficulty in reaching support/being routed to IVR, sites that are hard to navigate, and a lack of consumer-centric tools.


  • According to a study conducted by Medallia and Ipsos, the majority of consumers expect an immediate response when they submit a complaint. When they believe that the company makes less of an effort than the consumer does to provide a resolution, it is four times more likely that they will use the company less frequently, discontinue purchasing from the company, and change brands.
  • Research from NewVoiceMedia shows 49% of U.S. consumers switch brands because they feel they unappreciated while 37% switch because the staff was unhelpful and rude.
  • The majority of U.S. consumers (33%) cite a friendly and knowledgeable representative to be an important aspect of a good customer service experience.


  • A consumer report by Accenture found that 41% of consumers switched companies as a result of "a lack of trust and poor personalization."
  • This report also found that 43% of U.S. consumers are more likely to choose companies that provide personalized experiences, while 31% find great value in services that try to find out what the customer's needs are and personalize their recommendations.
  • According to Salesforce, 72% of consumers expect companies to understand their unique needs and 66% are likely to switch brands if they feel they are not treated as an individual but rather as a number.


  • According to the Northridge Group’s new State of Customer Service Experience 2017 report, U.S. consumers are increasingly frustrated by how difficult it is to get the help they require from companies. At least 50% of consumers say companies seem to make it hard to contact them, more than 70% experience long wait times and find it difficult to reach a live agent, and 25% receive no response when contacting a company through its social media channels.
  • Additional data from NewVoiceMedia shows that 30% of consumers experience being passed around to multiple agents, 27% are not able to speak to a person, 27% do not get answers, and another 27% are kept on hold for a long time.
  • A survey by Microsoft shows that Automated Telephone System (IVR) or the inability to reach a live person is the most frustrating aspect of poor service.


  • Statistics gathered from industry experts such as Adobe, Quick Sprout, and Google show that 79% of consumers who do not like the content of a site will search for another site, 52% of consumers find that a bad mobile experience will decrease the likelihood they will engage with a company, and 48% of consumers feel frustrated when sites are not well optimized for mobile.
  • Other reports show that 79% of shoppers say they would not return to purchase something from a slow loading website and 75% judge the credibility of a business by its website design.
  • Fifty-two percent of U.S. consumers prefer brands that offer a mobile-responsive customer service support portal.


  • From Northridge Group’s survey of more than 1,000 U.S. respondents, it was found that 57% of consumers often have difficulties finding answers on a company’s website and this leads them to look for other brands.
  • According to Microsoft, 63% of U.S. consumers believe that most brands take action on feedback provided by customers and 78% of consumers view brands that "ask and accept customer feedback" more favorably.
  • Sixty-seven percent of consumers have a greater preference for brands that offer or contact them with proactive customer service notifications and 89% expect brands to offer self-service options so they can resolve their own issues.
  • According to Business Insider, “73% of consumers want to be able to solve product/service issues on their own.”
  • According to the Harvard Business Review, "Reducing customer effort is a critical factor in driving loyalty and customers who have the best experiences spend 2.5 times more than those who don’t".
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Companies Struggling with Customer Engagement

Five of the US companies that have struggled with customer engagement include Toys R Us, United Airlines, Comcast, Sears Holding, and Wells Fargo. Below are the key findings apropos of the request.


  • Toys R Us is a prime example of companies that are struggling to engage its customers and deliver on the customer experience that has ultimately led to its fall. The company belongs to the league of retail giants that once ruled the day but on account of low customer engagement has been compelled to close stores and file for bankruptcy.
  • The company primarily has struggled to understand the shopping engagement behavior of the 21st-century customer and never scaled out of the brick-and-mortar model that had sustained them as the company in the 1940s. What had worked for Toys R Us in the late 1990s and early 2000s wasn’t working today, but the store refused to change the way it had always operated.
  • Toys R Us has failed to comprehend how, when, and why customers were interacting with their brand i.e. making purchase decisions and consuming content and more vitally missed upon leveraging that valuable information to improve the customer experience, both online and in-store.
  • The company failed to have a digital transformation and have a digital connect with its customers and instead focused on acquiring new business through an outdated digital experience and stocking up inventory.
  • It has struggled to create an engaging customer experience center like Nordstrom Local where customers could come to play with and test out the toys. In addendum, the company failed to create an efficient online ordering system for its customers with minimum touch points and provide services like efficient online ordering with same-day delivery out of local store inventory.


  • United Airlines is struggling to engage its customers especially over the past two years on account of the spate of highly-publicized customer service incidents which have distracted a large amount of its customers away.
  • The airline has hurt customers, threatened them, and mishandled their pets over the past few years and thus garnered customer furor leading to the decline in its customer engagement levels.
  • One of the primary reasons that is attributed to this struggle with customer engagement is the company's top-down management culture where the CEO and other leaders set the atmosphere for the rest of the employees. Experts opine that the company's leadership has created a culture where employees are treated poorly, which leads to bad customer service.
  • The company's PR has failed to pacify the customers and engage them back with airline due to its inability to bridle the negative customer experience incidents which had grown to a dozen and have amplified over the social media.
  • United’s handling of the incident only made matters worse as many perceived CEO Oscar Munoz’ apology as halfhearted and dismissive. The company was featured in the list of 20 most hated companies in America.
  • The company was pushed behind Alaska Airlines, American, and Delta in J.D. Power airline satisfaction survey published in 2018 on account of its depleting customer engagement endeavors.


  • Comcast has historically struggled, and is still struggling with a dismal track record in customer service and engaging customers. It was named as the 'Worst Company in America' in 2014 by Consumerists and since then has only partially improved in its rating and was at the 3rd last position in the 2018 American Customer Satisfaction Index.
  • The company is struggling in its consumer engagement because people are miffed about the quality of service from their call centers, and the company ranks incredibly poorly for its internet service quality. Comcast also ties for the last spot with Spectrum for landlines.
  • Comcast is more focused and channelized on the expansion of its business and operations, while customer satisfaction and reasonable employee policies are of paltry significance to it as corroborated by its dismal rankings in the Customer Satisfaction Index.
  • In an incident that went viral in 2014, in this era of "no question asked" policy, a Comcast consumer was interrogated for 20 minutes on his reason to leave the service. This did not go well with consumers and rubbed off badly on the training quality of Comcast technicians.
  • The company has also been charged with allegations of charging customers for unauthorized services and equipment due to which it was forced to pay a $2.3 million fine in 2016. Such allegations contribute to dwindling customer engagement.
  • The rise of Internet video services like Netflix and Amazon Prime that offer greater personalization, better user interfaces, and a lower price has raised customer expectations. As a ramification of this, cable and satellite television customers think they are paying higher prices for lesser value and receiving poor service to boot, causing them to engage less with such companies.
  • Also, the company's customers opine that their business models and pricing packages are designed to be as deceptive as legally possible and they end up paying 2-3 times the price of their advertised rates. Thus, a lack of transparencies in its pricing policies has also contributed to Comcast's customer engagement downfall.


  • Sears Holding is struggling to engage its customers which had led to depleting revenues and piled up debt which in turn is compelling the company to wind up majority of its stores in the US and file for bankruptcy.
  • The company is struggling to engage customers because it has struggled to adapt to changing market forces, including the rise of the internet, the growth of omnichannel, and the demand for enhanced customer experience. It has failed to embrace e-commerce, cloud technologies, or other specific digital initiatives to connect with its customers and engage them in a captivating manner.
  • Sears Holding's decision to close down its stores on account of the rising competition negatively affected its public perception and took a toll on its brand. Further, the company did not re-invest the savings from store closures into, for instance, fulfillment centers across the US to better serve customers or to create a unique shopping experience in its remaining stores. This led to customers fall out of favor of the Sear's brand.
  • The widespread closures have reduced customer's access to Sears goods and services and the slowness in executing online sales squandered the company's ability to sell in its own stores. Thus, it failed to engage customers both on brick-and-mortar front and on the e-commerce front.
  • The company has failed miserably on the digital marketing front which is contributing to its low customer engagement. It has made hardly any efforts to revamp its website which was never consumers’ go-to for online shopping and has relied on the same logo and its laurels of being an old American retailer.
  • Sears Holding has not made any efforts to set them apart in the modern age of unique and convenient retailers either by going green or be sustainable or engage customers with more trendy apparels and goods.


  • Wells Fargo's struggle to engage its customers is corroborated by the fact that it was ranked 11th in the American Customer Satisfaction Index 2018 of the 20 worst customer experience companies in the US and has constantly featured in the list of worst banks in the US for customer experience and engagement.
  • The primary reason behind the bank's struggle to engage its customers has been the fact that it has failed time and again to gain the trust of its customers due to its feeble technology infrastructure and involvement in various scandals and service outages.
  • As per a study published by CCG Catalyst, reputation, untrustworthiness, ethical issues, and poor customer service were the primary reasons quoted by bank's customers for not engaging with the same. Further, it was found that due to the bank's failure to curtail these issues, 26% of the customers had left for another bank or credit union.
  • One of the primary reasons due to which customers have failed to repose their faith in the bank and engage with it has been the constant involvement of Wells Fargo in various scandals like wrongly repossessing 27,000 cars, foreclosing on 400 families for no reason and scamming rich people by intentionally steering high-net-worth clients into unnecessary products with high fees.
  • The bank has struggled to emerge out and shed its reputation among customers as one focused on just cross selling products to customers and having aggressive sales targets putting pressure on its workforce to squeeze extra money out of customers. All these have contributed to the reasons why the bank is struggling to engage its customers.


The companies have been chosen from across varied sectors. These are companies struggling with engaging customers as corroborated by either falling sales, store closures, bankruptcy filings or low ratings in the customer confidence surveys. We scoured through the various media articles from Forbes, WSJ, Business Insider, INC, Bloomberg, and Live Mint; research reports and case studies from Deloitte, McKinsey, and Market Radar; and surveys from Pew Research and Deloitte in order to shortlist the companies struggling to engage customers. We have included a detailed explanation of the reasons behind the customer engagement failure of each company and the series of events or things that each one did wrong or missed doing that has contributed to its losing flavor with its customers.

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Customer Engagement with Brands

Customers engage with a company’s customer success/service team by using one or more of the following methods: live chat, email, mobile phone, voice calls, and social media. 43% of customers engage using live chat, 23% use email, and 16% use social media. When it comes to millennials, 63% use an online customer service method like live chat, email, and social media.


  • 63% of millennials contact customer service by going online.
  • Millennials contact customer service using their smartphone at a rate of 43%.
  • 31% of customer will contact a company for help via Twitter.
  • 45% of customer service requests are acknowledged by the company via social media.
  • 57% of customers would rather contact a company by using email or social media rather than talking to a person.
  • 40% of customers like to talk to a real person over the phone for issues with payments or other difficult issues.
  • 23% of customers prefer to talk to someone in person regarding troubleshooting issues.
  • 66% of customers used a minimum of three different communication channels to contact customer service.
  • 74% of Americans use a landline to contact customer service.
  • 77% of customers say they can successfully use self-service portals.
  • Email is the most commonly used customer service channel, at 54% of customers using it in 2018.


  • For digital content contact methods, 42% engage using live chat, 23% use email, and 16% use social media.


  • 64% of Americans contacted customer service in 2017.
  • Customer will wait an average of 11 minutes before disconnecting the call.
  • 60% of customer choose which customer service method to use based on where they are and what they are doing at that moment.
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Investment in Mobile Marketing & Customer Experience

There is insufficient information publicly available specific to customer experience spending of United States marketers. However, triangulation of available data reveals that marketers in the United States plan to spend an estimated $93.13 billion on mobile marketing in 2019. Consumers are expected to spend more time on the internet using smartphones to watch videos in 2019, and advertisers will spend about $20 billion on mobile video. Findings reveal that video (including live video and ads) will account for nearly 85% of all internet traffic in 2019.
Marketers in the United States will spend more than $350 million to implement email advertising in 2019. Some components of mobile advertising include email, SMS, and MMS marketing. SMS and MMS constitute personalized marketing methods. Mobile apps drive engagement and are used to support e-commerce. Mobile-friendly websites are used to improve the customer experience.


  • According to Target Marketing (a US based magazine), consumers will spend more time on the internet using smartphones to watch videos while advertisers are expected to spend about $20 billion on mobile video (including live video and ads) in 2019. Videos will account for about 85% of internet traffic during the year.
  • Collectively, United States based companies spent about $19.2 billion for the acquisition of audience data and solutions aimed at managing, processing, and analyzing the data in 2018. However, 15% of American companies intend to spend more in 2019, while 3% plan to spend less.
  • Experts have estimated that the United States mobile search spending will be valued at $28.25 billion for the year 2019 and mobile advertising will account for about 72% of all spending on digital ads in the United States.
  • In 2019, about 92% of Facebook’s advertising revenue will come from mobile, while two-thirds (about 66.7%) of Amazon's planned spending on digital ads for 2019 will go toward mobile advertisement.
  • According to e-Marketer, at $87.06 billion for mobile ads in 2019, mobile will dominate the ad spending and account for over two-thirds of digital ad spend in the United States.
  • Marketers in the United States will spend more than $350 million to implement email advertising in 2019.


  • Customer data is used by marketers (mobile inclusive) to solve problems and deliver a "better customer experience." United States based companies spent about $19.2 billion acquiring audience data and solutions required to manage, process, as well as analyze consumer data in 2018. However, 15% of American companies intend to spend more in 2019, while 3% plan to spend less.
  • According to eMarketer, (screenshot available here), the digital advert in the United States, which covers advertising that appears on desktops, laptops, mobile phones, tablets, and other internet-connected devices, will account for $129.34 billion in 2019.
  • The Amazon platform has "shoppers' behavioral data" used in targeting consumers and providing companies access to purchased consumer data in real-time. CPG's and direct-to-consumer [D2C] brands use Amazon data to boost consumer experience. Amazon earnings account for 8.8% of the $87.06 billion worth of digital ad spending in the United States, representing a 2% (calculated) growth from 6.8% recorded for 2018 and indicating that companies will spend more in 2019 for the acquisition of data for the enhancement of consumer experience from Amazon.
  • Spending on AI is expected to reach $35.8 billion in 2019, representing a 44% increase from 2018. Digital transformation is known to be the future of customer experience and is the primary focus for companies seeking to boost customers experience. Two-thirds of global CEOs (including American CEOs) will focus on digital to improve customer experience in 2019 as AI handles customer service interactions.


  • Mobile advertising will account for 72% of all digital advertisement spending in the United States.
  • At $87.06 billion in 2019, mobile will dominate the spending, accounting for over two-thirds of digital ad spend in the United States.
  • It is estimated Google will spend 37.2%, Facebook 22.1%, Amazon 8.8%, Microsoft 3.8%, and Verizon 2.9% of all digital ad expenditure in the United States for 2019, which cumulatively accounts for 74.8% of ll adigital ad expenditures for the year.


Research included market survey reports, among other resources published by Marketing Dive, Blue Corona, etc., for the amount United States marketers plan to invest in mobile marketing and customer experience programs in 2019. None of the articles gave comprehensive insights covering mobile marketing, and customer experience spend breakdown based on actual sums or planned percentages. Research for the earnings of major companies that provide mobile marketing services in the United States for 2019 revealed through Tech Jury that 92% of Facebook’s advertising revenue for 2019 would come from mobile and two-thirds Amazons digital ad spend goes to mobile. Marketing Dive revealed that companies use consumer data to solve problems as well as improve customer experience. However, there was no information on the total spending on consumer experience for 2019. This research strategy did not uncover the budget of mobile marketing spend by US marketers.
Research through credible media journals and publications such as Forbes, Harvard Business Review, among other resources for the percentage of their budget that United States marketers plan to invest in mobile marketing as well as customer experience in 2019, again did not uncover comprehensive results. We also researched activities used to boost customer experience and their monetary cost to Marketers in the United States. This strategy revealed that spending on AI (which promotes consumer experience) is expected to reach $35.8 billion in 2019. This data was not sufficient to analyze the budgeted spend on customer experience for marketers in the United States as it was not specific to the United States. However, we included some insights from this report, although it contains some American specific as well as global insights. The author, Blake Morgan, is a customer experience futurist, a keynote speaker, a lecturer at both the Columbia University, and the Rutgers executive education MBA program. She is a resident of the United States. Research through journals for the percentage of the overall digital ad spend budgeted for customer experience in 2019 failed to uncover any relevant results.
Our research for insights specific to the United States mobile marketing, customer experience, etc., from marketing industry publications such as Target Marketing magazine, Aumcore, etc., for a breakdown of vital/related statistics such as mobile video spending, and mobile search advertising spending for 2019 in the United States uncovered some helpful findings. Aumcore revealed that the United States mobile search spending would be over $28 billion in 2019. We also tried a triangulation attempt. We aimed to calculate the total revenue customer data providers such as Amazon make from providing services relating to customer experience. Consumer data (including behavioral data) is used to boost consumer experience according to e-Marketer. Insights obtained by researching for the earnings customer-centric data service providers will earn in 2019 through eMarketer, a market media publication revealed that Amazon provides behavioral data used to target consumers and also provides companies with access to consumer purchase data in real-time. We assumed that since the digital ad revenue of Amazon in 2019 is 8.8%, against 6.8% of the overall United States digital ad revenue share in 2018. We assumed that companies would invest more in 2019 in Amazon's data used to boost consumer experience. But there were insufficient insights uncovered to calculate the national earnings of service providers on customer experience data. The findings from this strategy corroborated our finding from Marketing Dive, which revealed that "marketers plan to spend more on data and data-related services in 2019" to boost consumer experience.
We also researched through academic journals and scholarly publications by Research Gate journals, Sage Journals, the American University Library, etc., for analysis or trends about mobile and customer experience spending in the United States. We assumed that an analysis of trends related to mobile and customer experience spending would cover the market size of mobile customer experience or the total amount spent by companies on customer experience. Unfortunately, no publicly available data gave insights into the mobile customer experience spending of organizations in the United States. A Sage journal publication analyzed about 414 public companies but gave no insight into the customer experience spending of the companies. We have assumed that data on 2019 mobile and customer experience expenditures in the United States is not readily available to the public probably because the year is still running but may become available at a later date.


We relied on the insights uncovered by researching through BlueCorona that the mobile advertising of marketers in the United States is expected to cover 72% of all United States digital ad spending in 2019. We also relied on the insights uncovered by researching through e-Marketer that the total digital ad spending in the United States for 2019 is $129.34 billion to calculate the planned/projected mobile marketing spend for 2019 as follows:
  • The mobile advertising of marketers in the United States is expected to cover 72% of all U.S. digital ad spending in 2019.
  • The total digital ad spending in the United States for 2019 is $129.34 billion.
  • Mobile marketing spend = (72 * $129.34 billion)/100 = $93.125 billion.


From Part 01