Unica Corporation, a worldwide provider of enterprise marketing management (EMM) solutions, has revealed the results of its "Marketing Challenges 2004" study, conducted by Forrester Consulting. The study was commissioned by Unica to gain an improved understanding of the key issues marketers face and how they are responding to trends such as changing consumer attitudes, a proliferation of new marketing channels, increased regulatory compliance and a sharp focus on marketing accountability and ROI. More than 250 executive marketers across industries that include financial services, manufacturing, technology, travel/hospitality, consumer goods, retail and government participated in the survey.

Seventy-two percent of marketers polled said they believe the primary objective of marketing within their organizations is to drive sales leads or directly influence revenue. However, when asked how top non-marketing executives within their company perceive marketing, only 37 percent responded that marketing is strategic and capable of delivering measurable value. Another 31 percent indicated that marketing is viewed as strategic, but its effects cannot be measured. It's not surprising then that more than half (55 percent) of the marketers polled said that making marketing more measurable is their greatest challenge for 2004. Regardless of company size, measurability was most frequently selected as the greatest challenge by survey participants. In addition, companies of all sizes cited improved coordination of marketing programs across channels as one of their top three greatest challenges.

While approximately 70 percent of executives polled indicated that their companies have a centralized customer data warehouse, less than 20 percent of respondents indicated that their companies have a 360-degree view of each customer across the organization, and only four percent of those polled indicated complete satisfaction with their firm's customer-centricity.

As the effects of recent and still looming privacy-protection legislation (e.g. Do Not Call, CAN SPAM) take hold, marketers will be charged with finding innovative ways to reach customers. More than 60 percent of those surveyed expect recent privacy legislation to have a greater impact on marketing during the next two years, but the survey finds that less than 20 percent have changed their e-mail and telemarketing practices as a result, and less than 20 percent allow customers to determine frequency of marketing.

The detailed results of the Unica "Marketing Challenges 2004" survey were presented at the Marketing Executive Leadership Forum, "Marketing in the Fast Lane: Leading the Customer-Centric Initiative," at the Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Baltimore on Thursday, June 24. The event explored the core competencies marketers must develop to drive the customer experience and ensure their marketing programs deliver measurable results.

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