winter on a residential street in NYC
May the beauty of the season continue to inspire you through the New Year. PHOTO: David Creixell Mediante

If you want to understand the importance of customer experience (CX), just talk to Diane Magers, chair of the Wakefield, Mass.-based Customer Experience Professional Association (CXPA).

To make her point, she'll likely share some amazing statistics, including these:

  • By 2020, the customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator, according to a Walker survey
  • 89 percent of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor services, according to RightNow’s Customers Experience Impact report from 2015
  • A Bain and Co. report from 2015 finds that a customer is four times more likely to buy from a competitor if the problem is service related versus price or product related
  • Forbes has found that 86 percent of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience but only one percent of customers feel that vendors consistently meet their expectations
  • 55 percent of consumer would pay more for a better customer experience, according to Defacto research
  • The Temkin Group has established that loyal customers are five times as likely to repurchase, five times as likely to forgive, seven times as likely to try a new offering, and four times as likely to refer

It's no surprise, then, that customer experience and related topics including digital marketing and marketing automation are of great interest to CMSWire readers.

CMSWire Hits

So what kind of customer experience and marketing issues did we discuss this year? Let's look back CMSWire's Top 10 CX, digital marketing and marketing automation stories of the year.

No. 10

CMSWire reporter David Roe told readers Microsoft Took a Swipe at Salesforce with its Dynamics 365 Release.

Microsoft's Dynamics 365 new suite combines its customer relationship management app, Dynamics CRM, with its Enterprise Resource Planning app, Dynamics AX. According to Microsoft's numbers, an enterprise plan for an organization with 500 users costs $115 per user per month as opposed to $585 per user per month for an equivalent Salesforce deployment.

No. 9

Deb Miller, director of industry marketing at Appian, had an big hit with her look at the Worst Innovation Ever.

History is filled with innovation gone wrong. According to Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking we should have learned our lesson by now about the ill-fated consequences of technology advances. Hawking maintains humanity is at risk from a series of dangers of our own making, including nuclear war, global warming and genetically-engineered viruses.

No. 8

CMSWire reporter Dom Nicastro followed the news when Gartner Named Multichannel Campaign Management Leaders.

The Stamford, Conn.-based research firm booted Teradata from the leaders spot, demoting it to a "niche player" alongside 10 other vendors. Five other companies — IBM, SAS, Oracle, Adobe and Salesforce — remained leaders in Gartner's recently released Magic Quadrant for Multichannel Campaign Management.

No. 7

CMSWire reporter Virginia Backaitis talked to the Steve Lucas, Marketo's New CEO, who exclaimed, "We're the Best in Marketing Automation."

Lucas is betting big on Marketo's technology, its customers and employees, as well as his Marketing Nation, Marketo's 60,000-plus member user community. Aside from leaving a significant role at the world's third largest software company, he will also be uprooting his family from Denver to the San Mateo, Calif. area once his son finishes the school year. Those are high stakes, both professionally and personally, but Lucas is sure he can deliver — and why wouldn't he be? It is safe to say that he knows how to grow a business.

No. 6

CMSWire reporter Dom Nicastro explained how Ex-Salesforce Execs Launched an Account-Based Marketing Startup.

Jason Garoutte, CEO and co-founder of San Francisco-based YesPath, and co-founder and CTO Brian Zotter left Salesforce to embark on a path that eventually led into the jammed-packed MarTech startup world on their own. Before starting YesPath, Zotter was vice president of technology and products at ClearStory Data, and Garoutte was chief marketing officer and general manager of Mintigo.

No. 5

CMSWire reporter Dom Nicastro shared the news that HP Was Selling its CX Assets to OpenText for $170M.

The story of what OpenText gains is less compelling than what HP loses. It's another tale in what has become a growing saga for HP, the once dominant IT and software company that last fall announced plans to cut up to 30,000 employees as the company split into two businesses. Earlier last year, HP filed a $5.1 billion lawsuit related to its Autonomy acquisition.

No. 4

CMSWire Publisher Brice Dunwoodie and reporter Antoinette Siu took at deep look at Marketo Re-Architected: Understanding Its Big Bet on Big Data.

One thing all parties made clear is that Marketo wants a bigger piece of the enterprise pie. This is unsurprising — the company is, after all, out there on its own swinging against powerful marketing cloud vendors like Salesforce, Adobe and Oracle. Without a convincing enterprise tale, it will be relegated to the small- and medium-size business (SMB) market, which itself is growing increasingly competitive and smacks of a boorish price war. Both customers and Wall Street are demanding evolution.

No. 3

CMSWire reporter Dom Nicastro got some honest answers about corporate missteps in a story that revealed SDL Admits Its Customer Experience Message Failed.

SDL’s executive chairman David Clayton told CMSWire SDL was caught in a never-ending game of catchup with Sitecore and Adobe. As a result, the Maidenhead, England-based language and content technology provider is selling off the products that once competed with those two firms: its social intelligence, campaign management and e-commerce optimization platforms.

No. 2

CMSWire reporter Dom Nicastro explored A Surprise $1.79B Private Equity Investment - and the Fate of Marketo.

San Francisco-based Vista Equity Partners confirmed yesterday that it plans to scoop up the San Mateo, Calif.-based marketing automation provider for $1.79 billion yesterday or $35.25 per share — a 9.5 percent premium to the company's previous day's closing price and 64.2 percent higher than the May 9 closing price of $21.47.

No. 1

Nicholas Tenhue, user experience and product strategy lead at Genospace, got a lot of love for his story, which explained Why We All Need Design Thinking.

With design thinking's coming of age, the importance of applying its principles has become extremely clear. By meeting customer needs through creative problem solving, technological possibilities, and consumer-based strategies, it's possible for any company in any industry to excel. Here's why we all need design thinking.