First the good news: nearly nine out of ten (87%) of companies think using data and analytics will be a key competitive advantage over the next five years; now the bad, only a quarter are actually using data to improve the customer experience.
That is the damning conclusion of the Customer Intelligence Report by Acxiom, which also reveals that almost 90% of consumers think the experience a company provides is as important as its product or services and three-quarters expect brands to understand their unique needs.
The only way to meet these high expectations, according to Acxiom at least, is by gaining in-depth knowledge of the customer – what they want and how they behave – through data-driven customer intelligence.
Understanding customers is fundamental to a brand’s success, customer intelligence the key to this, with 66% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand that treats them as an individual. Most businesses know how vital customer intelligence can be, but just because they realise it is important, it does not mean they are taking full advantage of it.
Acxiom’s report shows that while 60% of businesses claim to use advanced analytics techniques for customer intelligence, only 23% use technology like artificial intelligence or machine learning within their analytics capabilities.
Meanwhile, 56% of businesses say their customer insight function is focused on delivering their company’s key commercial objectives, yet only 7% say that it is championed by the CEO. In addition, 46% of organisations claim to be using a combination of first, second and third party data, but only 9% unite this into a single customer view.
Businesses are investing heavily to transition from legacy technologies to systems and platforms fit for purpose in a world of advanced analytics, personalisation and automation, but many have a long way to go.
Only 22% of companies describe having real-time, collaborative platforms that enable customer data to be captured, stored, analysed and acted on in real-time.
The report quotes a number of senior marketers including Levi Strauss & Co chief global strategy and AI officer Katia Walsh, who said: “To stay relevant and maintain competitive advantage, brands need to combine the power of data, analytics, and artificial intelligence so they can truly understand their customers.”
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