Personalisation battered by unactionable customer data

shopping 1Four-fifths of retail marketers consider personalisation key to driving both increased revenue and better customer experiences, although a quarter are unable to act on their existing customer data due to a catalogue of issues including data silos, a lack of segmentation and time constraints.

That is according to a new Retail Roadblocks report, by Emarsys, which quizzed over 500 marketers at global retail brands to identify the obstacles facing retail personalisation in 2022.

With almost a third responsible for CX, CRM, digital marketing, branding, customer acquisition and customer retention, many are stretched thinner than ever before, yet they are required to deliver more sophisticated work, across a broader spectrum, in the same or less time.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, time consuming technical issues dominated the list of concerns. The report reveals that an inability to scale content is hampering a third of retail marketers, while a similar number (30%) say they are lacking the ability to segment by behaviour and purchases, deemed as essential for effective personalisation. Some 22% also state that data silos are limiting their ability to personalise.

Many marketers are also feeling the negative effects of legacy technology. One fifth reckon their current martech stack is not fit for purpose, with nearly a third (29%) citing poor technology integration as a barrier to personalisation.

More than two-fifths (42%) are devoting more time to preparing and segmenting data than anything else, wrestling infrastructures and data just to be able to get on with the job.

To free up more of their time and break through the barriers holding them back, almost half of those surveyed said they will be investing in more web personalisation technologies in the next 12 months.

With two-thirds wanting to spend more time improving personalised product recommendations, and 91% needing more time to get to know customers as people, marketers are turning to technology to buy back time and improve their personalisation capabilities.

Emarsys chief executive Joanna Milliken said: “As the world of retail evolves, new channels appear, and customer expectations change, marketers are taking on more and more responsibility for the success of their business. This also means that they’re under more pressure than ever before.

“Not only is personalisation now seen as crucial to business success, demanding more sophisticated marketing tactics and technologies, but marketers are also taking on more responsibility in customer acquisition, experience, and retention. Budgets aren’t necessarily extended to accommodate this.”

As a result, Milliken maintains, far too many marketers are caught up in processes, buried in unactionable data, and stretched beyond their limits due to legacy technologies — through no fault of their own. They are also being forced to adapt to a data landscape that prioritises first-party data, where, again, the digital infrastructure to ensure that they succeed is not always there.

She concluded: “This gauntlet of roadblocks – strategy, budgets, people and tech – isn’t going anywhere. Marketers can’t rise to the occasion without the technologies needed to empower them. In turn, this can help them to focus on real outcomes, for their end customers, their business and even their own careers.”

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