The year 2018 will be the watershed year when savvy marketers move to expand their roles to encompass every aspect of the customer journey, end to end.

While 37 percent of marketing budgets are still spent on customer acquisition, according to the 2017-2018 Gartner CMO Spend Survey, 2018 will see marketers devoting increased amounts of time and resources to engaging with existing customers. In fact, current customers — always a core constituency — will soon be marketing’s primary audience, as CEOs, fearful of falling victim to disruption, look to invest in making the brand relationship more valuable.

Here’s why.

In the all-things-social world, customer sentiment now has the largest positive, or negative, effect on a brand. Their voices amplified by social platforms, existing customers are your most persuasive advocates or most damaging detractors. Combine that with the fact that it costs much more to acquire than to retain a customer, and it’s clear that nurturing existing customers delivers a significantly higher ROI on marketing spend.

[Read the full article on MarTech Today.]

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