There’s so much choice available that customers can pick and choose who they buy from and where, when, and how it happens. They want to discover, research, evaluate, and purchase on their preferred channel. Give them that option, and they’re more likely to choose you. That’s the whole point behind the multi-channel approach.
The majority of Australian marketers don’t have a single view of their customers and are dissatisfied with their cross-channel marketing efforts, according to a new report.
The Preparing for Cross-Channel Success: Solving the Identity Puzzle report from data management vendor, Signal, found just 5 per cent of surveyed respondents have a single view of their customers through data. Forty-three per cent said they had not yet implemented a solution to achieve a single view, while 22 per cent said their existing solution’s shortcomings severely limited its practical effectiveness.
In addition, when asked to rate how their brands have integrated marketing campaigns across multiple channels including online and offline, only 8 per cent claimed to be ‘very satisfied’, and one-third ‘satisfied’. A quarter of respondents were ‘unsatisfied’ and 32 per cent were ‘neutral’.
A number of other stark figures highlighted the challenges marketers are facing around customer data, as well as cross-channel marketing effectiveness in Australia. For example, nearly one in two respondents don’t understand the customer journey, and four in five marketers still struggle to collect the right data from the right channels on their customers.
Two-thirds said fragmented data or customer profiles made marketing measurement incomplete, while 60 per cent admitted to not being able to personalise customer experiences the way they wanted to. One in three also said they weren’t able to respond to customer interactions in a timely way.
What is clear is recognition of data’s importance to get there, and 77 per cent of marketers viewed a single view of their customers across touchpoints and devices as being either ‘essential’ or ‘important’ to achieving their marketing goals. Top reasons included understanding customer behaviour across channels (41 per cent), retaining customers and building loyalty (21 per cent) and engaging customers across channels (18 per cent).
The Signal report was based on an online survey of 186 brand and agency marketers in Australia in 17 categories, with 69 per cent at c-level, director or manager level.
Signal’s managing director for A/NZ and SE Asia, Warren Billington, partly attributed the poor single customer view figure to how marketers now define unified customer experiences.
“The whole definition of single view of the customer has been somewhat unclear in a lot of instances, and up until recently, the perspective has been more about connecting offline and online data into single data values,” he told CMO.
“What is changing is the perspective of what a true single view of customer is. Interestingly, marketers up until recently said they have a single view of the marketing database, but now realise that isn’t enough. It needs to be a panoramic view of the entire customer journey, and not only about static and historic data reporting, but also measuring and following live customer journeys as they interact across channels and make decisions in real time.”
According to Billington, the results showed that marketers recognised the need for a single view of customers across all channels and devices. But relative immaturity around data insights and technology platforms, along with access to data, remain impediments to success, he said.
Billington also took a quick swing at the rise of the DMP and DSP models, claiming these are still built on dated infrastructure that viewed customer interactions in silos.
“Marketers need to connect data under a single identity,” Billington continued. “Building online and offline environments, where infrastructure is disconnected, and the dependency on cookies to identify individuals, has to change.
“Cross-channel identity needs to be the new currency for digital marketers in alignment with the way customers are operating in real-time and an always-on fashion. Separately, data points provide information on customers, but a single customer view lets you understand the full context around marketing spend, marketing ROI and effectiveness and allows you to learn from every customer interaction which media is driving, as well as understand measurement and attribution.
“Once that’s done, you can interact with customers in the most relevant way through personalisation. All of this leads to better marketing.”
One area where the data disconnection is most apparent is the integration point between digital and physical locations, Billington said.
“These worlds tend to be completely disconnected from a retailer point of view. Marketers may be able to measure a customer’s digital behaviour fully, but how that influences conversion at the point of sale is disconnected,” he said.
Other data disconnections Signal commonly sees are between Web and mobile platforms, or linking CRM and digital customer identities, Billington said.
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