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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.
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.
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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