According to Experian Marketing Services’ “2015 Digital Marketer Report,” today’s marketers are struggling to collect, mine and leverage an unprecedented amount of data. Data linkage tops the list of barriers to cross-channel marketing, up from fourth place in last year’s survey.
Eighty-nine percent of marketers report having trouble getting a single comprehensive customer view, and one-third of them see effective linkage as the main barrier. Reasons include poor data quality (43 percent), siloed departments (39 percent) and an inability to link different technologies (37 percent).
“Consumers demand exceptional brand experiences, but without the right strategy and technology for collecting, authenticating, linking and managing all the data coming into an organization today, brands are unable to meet that demand,” said Ashley Johnston, SVP Global Marketing, Experian Marketing Services, in a press release. “Accurate, enriched data allows brands to stand out from competitors, create relevant interactions based on the deepest understanding of their customers and build successful customer-acquisition strategies as their priorities suggest.”
While marketers worldwide share some concerns, cultural and geographic differences prevail. In the UK, single customer view and data linkage are the top challenges, while in Spain, 17 percent find linkage taking a back-seat to technology problems (42 percent). French marketers (24 percent) flagged linkage as an issue but technology (38 percent) is the most pressing concern.
In North America, organizational structure was the most important issue, with 38 percent rating it as their highest priority. In Japan, only 9 percent of marketers see technology as an issue, while 44 percent struggle to link data and create a single customer view.
In Experian’s “State of Cross-Channel Marketing Report,” from April, the researcher found marketers embracing more customer-centric engagement strategies.
“The demand on brands to create highly relevant and meaningful interactions with their customers has never been greater. Yet, for many years, they didn’t have the means to do it,” said Matt Seeley, President, Experian Marketing Suite, in a press release. “We’re seeing a clear shift in the industry as more marketers focus on putting the customer first.”
Four key changes have taken place in the industry since 2013:
- Enterprise brands, like multichannel retailers, are asking their customers to set their own preferences
- Marketers are taking action to improve their data hygiene
- Brands are leveraging segmentation well beyond simple demographics
- Marketers are testing their campaigns to understand what works for their customers.
A white paper released in March, “Why Privacy Matters in a Data-Driven Economy,” advised that every data-driven company needs to assess its role in this economy and how businesses can collectively ensure that data is used for good, positive and productive purposes.
“Data on its own can’t transform the ways in which we manage our health, discover new information or connect to each other,” said Seeley. “The digital marketing community plays an essential leadership role in that process and, as such, is helping to empower people, governments and brands to make more informed decisions about how they can use data for good.”