Survey: Only one in four organisations practice data-driven marketing

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By: RickFerguson |

Posted on April 18, 2016

A new survey from Econsultancy and Adobe reveals the dirty secret of digital marketing: most companies either have no formal approach whatsoever to using data in marketing programmes, or are working toward a strategic approach, but haven't arrived at one yet (51%). Whether you believe this result probably depends on your definition of "formal approach."

The companies' latest Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing, called �The Pursuit of Data-Driven Maturity,� has found that only 26% of responding organisations have a solid data-driven marketing strategy in place.

According to the research, based on a global survey of more than 3,600 marketers, even among those who adopt a strategic approach, few have incorporated many of the elements that make for the most effective strategies.

While marketers report that �better customer experience� is a top driver for their data-driven marketing efforts, only a fifth of respondents currently have an actionable single customer view. The prospects over the next year are not much better, with less than a third saying this is currently being implemented (13%) or it's a budgeted priority for the next 12 months (15%).

This comes as no surprise when taking into consideration that the online/offline divide still exists in 60% of organisations surveyed and 83% struggle with merging their data points.

Despite developments in technical capabilities, adoption of more advanced techniques, such as audience amplification and predictive analytics, is still quite low. Only 7% of those surveyed exploit audience amplification as much as they can, while 13% are doing some work, aided by external support. Less than a fifth (19%) indicate they have technology and processes designed to predict the needs and behaviours of customers and prospects.

Encouragingly, 61% of organisations using audience amplification to some extent have seen �very high� or �strong� ROI from their data-driven marketing efforts.

The research also found that:

  • When asked where they are in their journey to digital maturity, a scant 16% of responding organisations describe themselves as close to, or at the finish line.
  • Two in five (41%) report that marketing takes a back seat to IT/tech groups in managing its data, with 45% suggesting that marketing can�t make decisions on new technology investments.
  • More than two-fifths (43%) are not using mobile data in any meaningful way, while only a fifth collect data on how mobile affects the customer journey. Even smaller proportions are using mobile data for geo-targeting (17%) or uncovering differences between customers (16%).
  • A third (34%) of responding companies rely on individuals/teams separately managing point solutions and delivering insights to a central repository. At the other end of the spectrum, only 13% are using cloud-based technology that includes solutions across marketing goals.

The Bullet Point: While adopting a data-driven marketing approach can often seem daunting to all but the most well-heeled organisations, there is a path to daylight. Instead of trying to wrap your head around every single source of data in your organisation - transactional, mobile, social, structured, unstructured, third-party - focus on those data sources that are most predictive of customer value.

Having some sort of "license plate," such as a loyalty programme identifier, that allows you to track individual behaviour across channels is a great way to hone your data collection and analysis. By translating your data collection and insight efforts into marketing messages that deliver improved relevance and personalisation to your most valuable customers, you can deliver immediate bottom-line results in the form of increased retention and improved yield. As your efforts grow more sophisticated, adding unstructured data to the mix can further fine-tune your results. That's a "formal approach" worth pursuing.

Download the full report here.

-Rick Ferguson

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