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Marketing is catching up to the “engagement game” and has powerful new tools to help. Will marketing automation actually lead to more sales? Is that the intent? Is marketing and sales joined at the hip in building amazing customer experiences?

The strategy does make a difference. What is our goal and how will we get there are essential to figuring out now. Transformation does depend on it.

Forrester’s research shows that technological change reduces competitive barriers. Building and sustaining customer relationships is the exception. In some ways, technology actually enhances relationship creation and maintenance. Top firms recognize this and get customer-obsessed to beat their competition.  By investing strategy, budget, and energy in the following four areas, they:

Turn big data into business insight – Big data is big news: 38% of 3000+ business and technology decision makers spend more than $10M on data and analytics in 2014 – and expect to continue to do the same or more this year. In the mix, predictive analytics are growing rapidly, with 65% of respondents claiming to use this technology today.

Transform the customer experience – Forrester’s Customer Experience Index shows that CX leaders out perform CX laggards on stock market performance during the past 7 years — leaders enjoying 78% growth on average during this period versus a negative 3% decline in stock price for laggards on average.

Embrace the mobile mindshift – Mobile-first is the new interaction imperative and Forrester predicts 45% of consumers across the world will use smartphones by 2019. Despite this, only 42% of apps/websites are designted from a “mobile first” perspective. (That gives you 4 years to catch up….)

Accelerate their digital business – This is the flipside of customer experience and answers the question “how do you get there?” For CMOs, cotent will become the key currency in in this transformation delivered as the fodder for personally, contextually relevant interaction. This will be a challenge since, while 86% of marketers believe they use content strategically, almost 2/3 of decision makers (62%) say the content they get from their supplier’s sales teams is useless.

Source: The A, B, C, D and E’s of Marketing Engagement | Forrester Blogs