When it comes to winning brand loyalty, the customer is truly king. And growing ever more important to customers is a sense of responsiveness from companies that makes shoppers feel like their needs and desires are being met and valued by brands.

That’s according to a new report from the CMO Council entitled The Responsiveness Requirement: How Agile Marketers Act on Consumer Feedback to Drive Growth. In the report, the CMO Council asserts that many brands are not doing enough to ensure that their marketing supply chains are agile and efficient enough to provide the level of responsiveness required to remain competitive in the current ecosystem.

In fact, while 90% of marketers surveyed reported that responsiveness and the ability to respond to needs and feedback are “critical to a good customer experience,” few organizations are valuing it as the priority it should be. Only 16% of those surveyed feel their organizations are “extremely responsive” to consumers. This gulf between brands simply wishing to provide a high-quality customer experience and those actually equipping their marketing departments to do so presents an enormous opportunity for companies to distinguish themselves from the competition.

The biggest area where marketers struggle to respond to customer feedback in a timely manner is physical touchpoints. Customer feedback on point-of-sale materials, physical touchpoints, and in-store displays takes up to 90 days for 77% of marketers to respond to. This is primarily due to logistical struggles with coordinating multiple vendors, aligning sales and marketing packaging decisions, and budget constraints.

The study goes on to suggest that while omnichannel marketing programs are growing in importance, and rightfully so, many organizations make the crucial error of letting their physical efforts lag behind. “Digital, in the past several years, has emerged as the efficiency powerhouse…but the impact of physical touchpoints like [point of sale] and product packaging were asked to take a back seat: too hard to create, too hard to update, too hard to track and measure, and even harder to reimagine at the speed of customer expectation,” the report says. So while physical channels play a key role in customers’ buying decisions, marketers aren’t able to quickly make the changes they need to in order to meet consumer expectations.

Brands that are able to equip their physical marketing channels to be as responsive to customer feedback as their digital channels are poised to leap ahead of their competition, especially as the holiday seasons arrive. Highly optimized marketing supply chains have never been more important, or more valuable, than they are today.

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