Despite the billions of pounds invested in insight and analysis, the vast majority of marketers are still in the dark about who their customers actually are, and are being hampered by data silos and structures which have been in place for decades.
That is the rather depressing finding of the global 2016 Digital Marketer Report from Experian, which found that regardless of the company size or industry, 81% of marketers report challenges in achieving a single customer view, 38% say knowing their customers remains their top challenge, and 52% named enhancing their customer knowledge as one of their top three priorities.
At the core – the single view of the customer – lies a fount of knowledge, but getting there is no walk in the park, the study concedes.
“Today’s brand marketers realise the significance of knowing their customers, but it’s still problematic,” said Ashley Johnston, senior vice president of global marketing at Experian Marketing Services.
“The future of marketing is being driven by sophisticated, channel-agnostic consumers who expect exceptional experiences every time. This reality poses a real challenge for organisations, as consumer intolerance for mediocre brand interactions puts more pressure on brands to leverage their data and technology.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the report maintains that to gain a complete understanding of customers, brands must invest more in technology.
However, organisational issues are also part of the problem, according to Experian chief technology officer Emad Georgy. He said: “For CMOs, now is the time to take a fresh look at the way you structure and incentivise your teams.
“Is your marketing team set up in a way that benefits the customer? Or is a different customer experience dictated in every channel? CMOs need to invest in technology that ensures data is accessible and actionable across groups.
“The marketers we see who are most successful at bridging the gap between siloed data sources and departments are the ones who have embraced the tools, insights and technology to help them centre their conversations on the customer, rather than the channel,” Georgy added.
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