When most marketers use the word ‘data’, what springs to mind are large sets of numbers, Excel spreadsheets, cloud-based IT systems and complicated algorithms. Big data speak is the mot du jour. There is even a big data Week in London called the Festival of Data.
Australian marketers continue to struggle with attaining a single view of their customers and identifying their worth, with nearly half citing ROI metrics as their top challenge this year, a new report claims.
According to Experian Marketing Service’s new 2013 Australian Digital Insights report, 89 per cent of marketers will be looking to integrate their communication campaigns across at least three channels in 2014, yet 24 per cent reported that they still lacked a single customer view within their organisation.
In addition, 30 per cent of all local marketers surveyed admitted they don’t understand their customers' behaviour. For more than 20 per cent, ‘understanding their customers’ persona and how this translates into a campaign’ is one of their top three challenges.
“This highlights the growing importance of linking online platforms with the overall offline customer experience in order to seamlessly integrate the path to purchase,” the report authors stated.
Data management and accessibility also showed up as an issue for marketers trying to demonstrating their worth to the wider organisation. Forty-four per cent of respondents said tracking marketing’s ROI was their top challenge this year, and 63 per cent highlighted understanding big data as a top three issue.
Current technology was also nominated by 48.9 per cent of respondents as a top barrier to cross-channel marketing.
“To engage customers, marketers should look to use all tools at their disposal and integrate communications seamlessly across numerous channels,” the report authors stated. “While the medium is of great importance, content and measurement remains key.”
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Key focus areas need to be big picture commitment, real-time customer insight and flexible technology, the report recommended.
Alongside the broader approach questions, Experian investigated the most popular channels of investment this year and found website, email and search marketing topped the list. But despite the rising dominance of digital channels, 21 per cent said direct mail remains one of their top three most important channels this year.
Online display advertising was nominated as the best channel to ‘greet’ the customer or build brand awareness, while email marketing was identified as the best for ‘closing’ or generating interest and foot traffic. Websites are the best channel to generate a sale, the report found.
Experian’s research was based on a survey of 200 Australian industry marketers in December 2013.