Anyone still in any doubt of the benefits of deploying a data-driven marketing strategy read on: companies which have collated and analysed customer data, both online and offline, have witnessed double digit growth over the past year, as well as a marketing spend ROI of 32:1.
So says a new study, carried out by London Research in partnership with BlueVenn, which quizzed 235 organisations with annual revenues of at least $50m.
It found those firms which have deployed a customer data platform (CDP) have grown 16% in the past 12 months, are more than twice as likely to have significantly exceeded business goals and have doubled the ROI of their adspend (32:1 compared to 14:1).
The study builds on the 2019 Customer Data Excellence report that focused on the growing role of CDPs in the execution of effective marketing activity to meet business goals.
The report finds that Covid-19 has served to increase the importance of CDPs as part of the marketing technology stack, with 78% of firms reporting increased traffic to their digital properties. As a result, there has been a 24% increase (from 51% to 63%) in the proportion of companies now using a CDP compared to 2019.
The study also supports recent Econsultancy research that found companies which embed customer journey mapping are twice as likely to exceed business goals as their competitors, with 85% of respondents agreeing it gives them a competitive advantage.
However, despite the clear link between building a robust understanding of the customer and business success, only 9% of companies in the BlueVenn study have engineered a seamless customer experience across online and offline channels in the past 12 months.
The main reason for this lack of take-up is the apparent dearth of C-suite involvement with customer experience (CX) strategies; only 17% of organisations have a dedicated CX team and ownership at executive level.
Retail is one of the few sectors leading the way, and these firms more than twice as likely as their non-transactional counterparts to have a fully customer-first approach, with a dedicated team and executive level responsibility for CX (20% compared 7%).
The study adds that CDP-equipped companies are more than five times as likely to be using advanced customer data analytics to support realtime or time-based triggered messaging and personalization (37% compared to 7% for non-CDP users). They are also over three times as likely to say they personalise their website/ecommerce store using offline customer variables as well as digital ones (23% compared to 7%).
Geographically, business adoption of customer data analysis is higher in the US than the UK (70% compared to 64%), demonstrating why US brands are significantly more likely to report having a full, cross-channel SCV (25% compared 16%).
But European market is catching up; 29% of UK respondents said they plan to use a CDP, compared with 20% in the US. There could be a a hgh price to pay for stalling implementation, however, with more than half (56%) of the companies without CDPs still more channel-focused, which limits their ability to apply insights holistically across their marketing efforts.
BlueVenn chief executive Steve Klin said: “When you can activate an single customer view across the entire business ecosystem, it ensures that the website caters for past bookings and browsing history, call centre agents can have informed conversations, sales assistants can make great recommendations, and marketers can email those same offers and recommendations based on all past interactions.
“The path to omnichannel maturity is anything but straightforward, however. As this report shows, it will be some time before all organisations realise their omnichannel utopia. Companies are definitely getting better at mapping customer journeys, but only 9% are delivering seamless experiences across both their online and offline channels.
“In large part, this is due to a cultural barrier, highlighted by the fact that only 17% of organisations say they have CX representation at C-level. This failing will continue to obstruct many marketers from realising omnichannel excellence, and means that marketing systems and processes remain fragmented and channel-focused.”
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