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Do Marketers Act on Data Insights?

Marketers struggle to make improvements, changes based on customer data

Few marketers have found a single customer view, and recent research finds they’re having trouble simply collecting and managing data needed to get there—and that’s a big problem. In March 2015 polling by Econsultancy, in association with ResponseTap, 98% of client-side marketers worldwide said that “data (as part of a single customer view and/or to feed broader customer insight)” was important (25%) or critical (73%) to making sense of the customer journey.

Ability* to Make Improvements Based on Insights Derived from Customer Data According to Client-Side Marketers vs. Agency Professionals Worldwide, March 2015 (% of respondents)

Data doesn’t mean much if marketers don’t act on it, though, and Econsultancy found that respondents generally weren’t handling this part of the process well. Just one-third of client-side marketers said they were doing an excellent (5%) or good (29%) job at making improvements and changes based on insights derived from customer data. Agency respondents were even less optimistic, with fewer than one-fifth saying their clients were good or excellent at this.

Data integration and sharing, or lack thereof, was another issue. Fewer than one-quarter of marketers said they had integrated touchpoints across different channels based on customers—up only 2 percentage points from 2011, despite the emphasis on streamlining the customer experience over the past four years. Just 5% said they had seamlessly integrated channels, while one-third managed customer touchpoints in silos. Even those who understood the customer journey had issues managing across touchpoints.

Integration of Customer Touchpoints Across Different Channels According to Client-Side Marketers Worldwide, 2011 & 2015 (% of respondents)

Other research by Econsultancy, conducted in December 2014 in association with Ensighten, also found that marketers and agencies worldwide were struggling to integrate data for customer experience optimization, with 70% and 57%, respectively, saying they had started to connect the dots but had a long way to go.

Similarly, March 2015 research by Signal found that merging profile fragments as data became available was a the biggest challenge to building a single customer view, cited by 57% of marketers worldwide, as was collecting data across channels (55%). And fragmented data also meant marketing measurement was incomplete (62%), personalized customer experiences weren’t entirely possible (61%) and once again, marketers couldn’t understand the customer journey (35%).

Data collection is just the beginning when it comes to understanding the customer journey and eventually forming a single customer view. Making changes based on insights gleaned from customer data is key, as is integration. Without action, marketers can wave bye-bye to creating a streamlined customer experience.

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