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Survey: Real Forces Disrupting Marketing Effectiveness

Disruption Customer Journey Glass

In a 2014 survey conducted by McKinsey & Company and the ANA, B2B and B2C marketers revealed the real forces disrupting marketing effectiveness today. Below is a summary highlighting the results.

1. Complexity and Fragmentation

48% of marketers reported that the fragmentations of the audience, and complexity of solutions and options for audience engagement, are significant disruptions to the success of their marketing efforts. There doesn’t seem to be much hope for a near-term fix; 44% of marketers reported that these factors will remain a challenge in the next 1-3 years.

Customer Journey Survey 1

2. Mobile Tops Budget Allocation

There is a lot of debate on what effect mobile technologies and mobile adoption among consumers have really had on marketing; many of the mobile opportunities and threats once prophesized by analysts have yet to come to fruition here in North America. Yet, B2B and B2C marketers once again point to mobile as both a major obstacle and opportunity – so much so that it tops the 5 areas that are being allocated greater budgets.

Customer Journey Survey 2

3. Migration to Networked Organizational Structures 

A challenge that is receiving less publicity than technology and social networking is the shift from more traditional organizational structures (where lines of authority are clearly defined and linear) to matrixed organizational structures, which feature multiple reporting lines that see employees reporting to more than one formal boss.

Customer Journey Survey 3

4.  Analytics Capabilities to Understand Customer Behavior

While marketers are keen to report the disruptions their businesses face, they also acknowledge the number of challenges in managing those disruptions. It should not surprise us that decision-making based on big data analysis and ROI measurement still top the list.

Customer Journey Survey 4

5. Poorly Defined “Customer Journey”

What dismayed me the most in reviewing the study’s findings is that only half of the businesses surveyed have a clearly defined “customer journey” mapped out.

Customer Journey Survey 5

That said, with 77% stating that they will have this figured out within the next 3 years, it seems that the importance of this roadmap is understood, if perhaps not how to map it.

The customer journey can be defined as the full experience of being the customer of a specific business. In other words, it’s the sum of interactions between an individual and a brand, and the net effect that journey has on the business’s bottom line. Those interactions include initial awareness of a product or the brand (lead generation, community, advertising, etc.) to the purchase decision (sales transaction, billing, sales personnel), and from purchase to advocacy (customer service, billing, loyalty programs, etc.).

It’s this customer journey that is at the center of almost every disruption and challenge highlighted by this study. Managing any of these disruptions, be they mobile adoption, data analytics, or changing organizational structures, requires an understanding of the customer journey – and where that journey may be blocked – as a baseline from which to effect change, make improvements, or track progress in the business’s value.

Sensei Debates


Is the customer journey more important in today’s fast-changing business landscape?
Is the customer journey the key to better managing business disruptions?


Sam Fiorella
Feed Your Ego, Not Your Community


Join the Conversation

DinorahFlores 5pts

Very interesting post! Thanks for sharing.

I strongly agree with Reheela. A business should focus on knowing/mapping the customer journey. 77% is telling us that most of the businesses have the same problem. It should not be a solution within three years. Although, this is not the only disruption, a marketer´s responsibility is to know how to use the data first in order to get to know customer´s journey.

samfiorella moderator 5pts

@DinorahFlores Too many businesses and marketers have caught up in building large social communities with no thought to managing "the right message to the right people at the right time" in those communities. 

raheela_n 5pts

Thanks for this post, Sam.

I absolutely agree that the knowing/mapping the customer journey has to be central to the success of every business, and the fact that the organizations surveyed 77% of them say that they will have this journey mapped in 3 years, is extremely poor. If the customer journey is central to most disruptions, and organizations are aware of this, why are they not taking appropriate action?  In such a competitive landscape, surely knowing the customer journey could be a quick-win (not a 3 year win!) for many organizations.  Without customers, there is no business.

samfiorella moderator 5pts

@raheela_n Two thoughts to consider in answering your question: 

a) the fact that data-driven decisions are still considered a challenge means that marketers don't yet know how to acquire or interpret the data. Or, they have not allocated budgets/priority to doing so. 

b) the effort/cost of mapping/managing the customer journey is a long-term solution that most business executives fail to fund/recognize. They're all looking for the next quick hit (number of likes/earned media) to prove their worth come quarterly review. 

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