Data-the 2016 Customer Experience Imperative

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For marketers and advertisers, future customer experience success depends upon consumer insights to drive progress and facilitate growth.
Customer Experience

Data has become the cornerstone for effective customer strategy. Companies that wish to create rewarding customer experiences and loyal brand relationships now depend upon customers' insights to guide new initiatives and rejuvenate prior efforts in order to advance the customer journey. But, while the data-driven approach continues to gain traction, brands have begun to realize that this method isn't just ideal-it's imperative.

GDMA's recent "Global Review of Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising 2015" report aims to understand how data impacts marketing and advertising around the world. Conducted in partnership with Winterberry Group and sponsored by MediaMath, researchers polled 2,938 marketers, service providers, and technologists to explore how global companies leverage information to engage customers, build profitable relationships, and establish lasting value for all parties involved. Based upon the results, the study indicates that not only does data matter, but it also now represents the central pillar of marketing, advertising, and customer experience practices across the globe.

The following statistics demonstrate what role data plays throughout 17 global markets with regard to experience and relationship growth, and how leaders plan to expand their initiatives in the coming year:

  • More than 81 percent described data as important to their overall CX efforts, 59.3 percent of respondents say data remains 'critical' in driving their audience engagement strategies. However, panelists are less confident than they were last year (74.1 percent versus 77.4 percent) when it comes to the potential for future growth.
  • Most respondents say their desire to be 'customer-centric' fuels their data-driven marketing and advertising (DDMA) efforts more than any other single priority, while 91.8 percent of those surveyed are at least partially focused on maintaining customer databases, and 90.2 percent are devoted to deploying predictive analytics and segmentation to better target and engage key audiences.
  • More than half of those polled (56.3 percent) increased their annual DDMA expenditures within the past year, while 68.6 percent expect their DDMA budgets to grow even more in 2016. However, the pace of DDMA spending growth slowed since last year, dwindling from 3.82 in 2014 to 3.61 in 2015 on a scale of 1-to-5. But, in 2016, respondents expect social media management (4.14) and mobile (4.20) investments to escalate.
  • While most DDMA practitioners have enthusiastically embraced customer centricity as their leading strategic priority (3.88), leaders are also eager to expand their investments because of the availability of marketing and advertising technology (3.56) and business leaders' growing recognition of DDMA benefits (3.29).
  • Economic conditions aren't driving or inhibiting DDMA investments (3.00), but regulatory factors are creating hurdles to greater DDMA activities (2.97). Overall, 26.4 percent of respondents claim that regulation limits DDMA initiatives in their market-up from 24.8 percent last year-and 48.3 percent say that increased regulation would negatively affect their business.

Key takeaway: Companies continue to make great strides when it comes to adopting and implementing data-driven marketing and advertising practices. However, leaders understand that there's much room for growth. For instance, most practitioners believe that improved campaign measurement and attribution tools (4.24) would allow them to derive greater value from their DDMA programs, as these elements would offer actionable insight to inform future campaign planning, media mix modeling, and similar optimization efforts. Respondents also recognize that there's an extensive need for better staff training (4.22), especially with regard to analytics in support of segmentation and targeting. Leaders aspire to achieve data-driven goals that reach beyond their company's current internal expertise, highlighting countless opportunities for personal and professional growth within the given organizations.

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EXPERT OPINION