Among marketing leaders, more than 90 percent are shaping their initiatives and business goals to a more customer-centric framework, reports the Korn Ferry Institute’s 2016 Marketing Pulse Survey. Korn Ferry surveyed more than 480 chief marketing officers (CMO's) to identify challenges in the marketing landscape and the issues affecting their positions and strategies.

The drive to create sustainable and engaging customer relationships and improve the customer experience is the No. 1 thing keeping them up at night, respondents say. Other issues cited include staying ahead and taking advantage of digital technology to create meaningful business insights, the ability to demonstrate marketing ROI and aligning marketing with the overall business strategy.

To achieve their goal of personalizing the customer experience, CMOs are connecting with customers via multiple channels—e-mail alerts, social media, online advertising, promotional events and the sales team—developing a common approach and messaging across these channels, and using data analytics to better differentiate their products. Korn Ferry reports that seven in 10 CMOs say customer data is behind their shift to customer-focused strategies. The survey found that using data to learn about and connect with customers has been the most effective application for analytics, and subsequently almost half of marketers—44 percent—plan to increase their use of real-time and predictive analytics by 25 percent; 23 percent say they will increase their use by up to 50 percent.

For more on the report’s insights, click here.