Marketers can no longer rely on 'horse and cart' technology and tools to unlock the potential of personalised and customer-centric communications, according to Katharine Hulls, VP of Marketing for Celebrus Technologies, who urges marketers to take a much more data-driven approach in order to create personalised and relevant campaigns for their target audiences.
The company's Digital Marketing Insights Report 2014 confirmed the results of a study carried out by Forrester Consulting and ExactTarget (see our earlier article here) in the sense that the industry acknowledges the importance of a data-driven approach to marketing personalisation.
"However, too many brands are trying to fit a wooden cartwheel on a Ferrari. They are stuck with legacy systems that lack the agility to deal with current personalisation demands," explained Hulls. "In addition, they often have to contend with data sources that were originally designed for a completely different purpose. These combined factors means marketers struggle getting access to the high quality and depth of data required for real-time personalisation."
It is perhaps not surprising to learn that 55% of survey respondents didn't use data in real-time in their channel personalisation currently because they did not have access to real-time data (50%), and 5% of that 55% said they don't see it as being "important".
This is set to change, though, as the research shows that marketers are keen to increase personalisation, and in real-time. Leveraging technology to automate decision-making is an obvious step. However, a digital transformation of this type must be approached as a whole and the temptation to buy point solutions to solve specific issues should be avoided. To achieve this it is essential that the right data foundations are in place.
The next step for marketers must be identifying, collecting and analysing data sources that are up to the job. Consumers continuously change gear when it comes to channels and devices, so this must be reflected in the data sources selected for building personalised 1-to-1 profiles.
"To convert prospects into loyal customers, marketers must ditch the horse and cart and instead head for the nearest Ferrari showroom," concluded Hulls. "Data-driven marketing is the key to unlocking the potential of real-time personalisation and the sooner marketers jump behind the steering wheel, the sooner they can start reaping the promised rewards of increased customer loyalty and retention."