CIM & Arlington Research: What’s driving your decision

Written by: Paul Stallard

Arlington Research has partnered with the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) to conduct a global study of 4,000 employees (including 1,000 decision makers) into why business leaders are not using data before developing strategies and implementing tactics (2020).

We found that nearly half of decision makers (49%) do not believe their company has a strategic vision. With the world finding itself in a global pandemic and with rising unemployment figures, many employees are looking to their boards for strong leadership, but the research shows a worrying level of neglect when it comes to strategic vision.

A critical part of any strategy is to understand the problem a business is trying to solve, so it is encouraging to see 76% of the 1,000 decision makers questioned stating that they regularly survey their customers. Interestingly, only 55% of employees agreed with this statement, which shows a clear disconnect internally. In addition, over a third of employees (37%) said their organisation didn’t have an adequate process to share knowledge of customer needs upwards in the company and worryingly, 56% of decision makers agreed.

This led to six in ten (59%) of decision makers stating that they believe the board makes decisions in their organisation without understanding the needs of their customers. This was slightly better in the UK with 56% of decision makers and 42% of employees agreeing.

How can a company hope to implement any worthwhile tactics if the strategy and thinking behind it hasn’t been adequately communicated to employees?” questions Chris Daly, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. “If your team isn’t clear on how a strategy has been created and what it’s based on, you run the risk of them not being 100% behind the approach.”

Continuing this theme, it isn’t just the line of communication going up the organisation, which is lacking, with only 59% of employees saying they receive regular communication from management about business performance.

Once you have a robust strategy backed up with insight and data, you are only part of the way there. Now you need your staff to implement the plan and deploy the appropriate tactics,” continued Daly. “Winning hearts and minds is key, only when your staff understand the thinking behind the key decisions will they really put their heart and soul into it, making it a success.”

Likewise, less than half of employees (45% in the UK) believe their organisation monitors how the competition communicates in the public domain while almost two fifths (37%) of employees believe their competitors’ marketing is better than theirs.

“Customers, competition and communication. Understanding the importance of all three of these are critical for any business plan to succeed,” States Paul Stallard, MD Arlington Research. “The worry from our research was the amount of businesses who are blindly focusing on specific tactics and approaches regardless of insight. Now is the time to understand the full picture and create a strategy that employees can get excited about and fully behind,” concludes Stallard.

CIM members can download the full report from MyCIM or you can view it in the CIM market research resource centre.

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