Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
Australian marketers are behind their North American and UK counterparts when it comes to utilising technology and data in marketing activities, a new report indicates.
According to the Australia and New Zealand results from the The Global 2015 Digital Marketer report from Experian, the three biggest challenges for local marketers this year are customer acquisition (55 per cent), marketing automation (43 per cent) and branding (40 per cent).
Notably, the number of A/NZ marketers struggling with marketing automation was 12 per cent higher than the global average.
The list of top three marketing priorities, meanwhile, was led by building a customer acquisition strategy (57 per cent), and telling our story so we stand out amongst competitors (52 per cent). Yet in a sign of the changing nature of marketing strategy, four in 10 identified creating and maintaining customer satisfaction and loyalty as a key priority for 2015.
The digital and automation transformation marketing functions are experiencing was nevertheless apparent through the research, with 36 per cent of respondents identifying ‘strategic alignment of their companies’ departments to meet the demands of the modern consumers’ as a key priority this year. In addition, 31 per cent said ‘integrating technology to automate, orchestrate and manage customer interactions’ was a key priority.
Yet while 31 per cent of local marketers said data collecting, linking and managing structured and unstructured data was a core challenge, only 17 per cent identified data as a key focus this year. This was despite the fact that 43 per cent agreed poor data quality was inhibiting their ability to create a single customer view, followed by siloed departments (39 per cent), lack of technology integration (37 per cent), and a lack of relevant technology (34 per cent).
Globally, Experian also found companies believed 23 per cent of their budget on average is wasted annually due to poor data quality.
The report authors said the results indicated the persistent blind spot around data in many organisations.
“This is a cause of concern as data holds the key to overcoming other major challenges,” the report stated. “Without accurate, enriched data, brands will continue to struggle to differentiate themselves from competitors, create relevant interactions or build successful customer acquisition strategies.”
The report also looked at how third-party data was being used by A/NZ marketers and found demographic data (38 per cent), behavioural data (29 per cent) and geolocation data (28 per cent) were the top three types used.
Thirty-seven per cent of local marketers aren’t enriching their own data with third-party information, however, a significantly higher result than the global average (25 per cent). In addition, only 30 per cent of A/NZ marketers personalise with behavioural data compared to 42 per cent of marketers in North America and the UK.
Three in four A/NZ marketers only personalise with basic data, such as a first name, or not at all. Top challenges to cross-channel marketing, meanwhile, were current technology (35 per cent), budget (33 per cent) and lack of linkage and single customer view (27 per cent).
The A/NZ version of Experian’s report was based on responses from more than 180 local marketers from a global research pool of 1000.
4 tips from Experian on improving marketing data accuracy
- Get involved in the data collection process: Align with data owners across the organisation to understand the data collection process and how it can be improved. Also encourage the use of validation software when capturing customer data and try to enforce consistent standards around the business.
- Encourage a central data management strategy: This is the best way to ensure a single and complete view of each customer.
- Find the right technology: Data quality technology is now widely available but care needs to be taken in finding the right vendors.
- Monitor information over time: Marketers can either use monitoring technology as part of their broader data management strategy, or keep track of campaign response rates, such as email bounce or returned mail, to get an idea of contact data accuracy.
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