Data's Shortcomings Are Personalization's Kryptonite

Insufficient resources, poor data quality, and privacy concerns prevent marketers from becoming personalization and engagement superheroes.
Customer Experience

In an era where data drives progress, many companies still lack the Superman analytical capabilities needed to drive personalization and engagement. Most recognize the ROI benefits of customer experience optimization, yet few have the power to gather omnichannel data and act upon these collective insights in ways that promote greater loyalty and engagement.

Econsultancy's "Customer Experience Optimization Report" explores how organizations currently harness data and technology to achieve customer centricity. Conducted in partnership with Ensighten, researchers surveyed 613 digital marketers and e-commerce professionals to establish how brands perceive customer experience optimization and determine the obstacles that continue to hinder their targeted CX efforts. On average, marketers understand the importance of personalization, but few have yet to master the skills necessary to analyze high volumes of data and bring such insight to action.

The following statistics outline the benefits of customer experience optimization, the basic data collection practices employed, and the challenges companies face on the road to improved personalization:

  • Forty-one percent of companies polled claimed customer experience optimization remains a critical priority for their organization, while 55 percent declared it's currently only somewhat important.
  • Customer experience optimization typically leads to increased conversions and greater loyalty, with 94 percent of companies reported higher engagement and conversion rates, and 66 percent cited better brand perception as top benefits of this commitment to customer experience.
  • Less than 20 percent of organizations are using a single customer profile (SCP) for 'most' of their marketing applications, while 45 percent don't use an SCP at all. Only 3 percent of those polled claim they have a strong capability when it comes to using cross-channel or cross-device data for either real-time website or mobile app personalization.
  • Fifty-one percent of respondents cite insufficient resources (i.e. budget and staff) as the primary barrier on the path toward customer experience optimization, while 44 percent of organizations cite data quality as their main obstacle.
  • While 85 percent of businesses admitted that they're unable to extract full value from the data sources they have access to, 27 percent are able to turn all useful data into actionable insight.
  • Only 10 percent of businesses have been able to blend customer insights from multiple channels, technologies, and databases, as 34 percent of respondents claim to have become more effective at integrating user data from different systems into one profile store.
  • Respondents are primarily concerned with ensuring complete customer privacy (89 percent) and monitoring website performance (96 percent) as part of their customer experience optimization efforts. However, 41 percent believe that their concern regarding privacy will prevent them from personalizing customer experiences in the future.

Key takeaway: Focusing on customer centricity allows companies to cultivate loyalty, thereby creating an engaged customer base. But, while such efforts provide clear value and a distinct competitive advantage, most organizations are not yet positioned to deliver the most relevant, personalized experiences possible. Overall, 62 percent of respondents feel overwhelmed by the volume of incoming data, as most struggle to tear down the technology silos that prevent single customer profiles. Yet, without such profiles in place, companies risk repetitive, irrelevant brand interactions that deter repeat business. Customer data enables organizations to build meaningful relationships, but without the ability to link previous activities with the here and now, companies will likely face increased churn, as consumers pursue brands that understand them and cater to their behaviors.