I have just published a report that builds on Forrester's research on CMOs' technology spending plans, focusing on India's banking industry. The Indian banking industry emerged unscathed from the 2008 and 2009 global financial crises, but it will not be immune to the age of the customer. My report outlines how technology will play an increasingly crucial role in implementing differentiated revenue models, a superior customer experience, and an optimized cost structure for banks. The key findings from the report include:
- Digitally enabled customers are demanding customer obsession from their banks. Indian banking CMOs' top three business priorities are addressing the rising expectations of customers, improving margins, and acquiring and retaining customers — priorities that are similar to those of their peers in other industries. The experience that other industries offer — such as the compelling content, interactions, and features that consumer product companies provide — are shaping customer expectations, and customers want similar experiences from their banks. And the entry of new players and the tough economic situation are driving CMOs to increase their focus on winning, serving, and retaining customers.
- CMOs are looking to CIOs to accelerate their tech agenda. In the past, CMOs flirted with technology to test new ideas, but the new mantra is "Technology is marketing." Twelve of the 20 Indian banking CMOs we surveyed plan to increase their technology budget in 2014, whereas only 10 of them actually managed to do so in 2013. However, the majority of CMOs acquire marketing technology solutions from the organization's tech management department.
- Mobile apps, customer analytics, and digital engagement systems are the key CMO priorities. Ten of the 20 banking CMOs we surveyed plan to invest in smartphone or tablet app development in 2014 and need specialist agencies to build mobile apps that provide a rich user experience. Retaining a customer is far more profitable than acquiring a new one. CMOs must leverage internal and external data to offer personalized banking experiences, empower customers to make decisions, and increase their share of their customers' wallets. Also, Indian banks may want to go digital, but the majority of them don't continuously engage with customers. With digital transformation comes greater complexity, and banking CMOs need CIOs' help in finding the right niche and digital vendors in the market.
What it means for CIOs: The good news is that, as a CIO, you still control technology spending within your bank. But the bad news is that customer preferences are evolving much faster than the ability of banks to respond, resulting in a widening delivery gap. More than ever, CMOs — and the business — need you to address the age of the customer and enable them to serve digitally empowered customers. CMOs want CIOs to become partners rather than service providers. Don't ignore their expectations — but recognize that changing expectations require new priorities. Clients can read our actionable recommendations for CIOs who want to take the lead in transforming their bank's marketing technology. Are you game?