Personalization Progress Stalled by Lack of Insights

Marketers say they're not reaching customers' full revenue potential due to a lack of data insights and visibility into customer lifetime value.

When it comes to personalization, real time remains the right time to engage customers and prospects. But the clock keeps ticking even as brands struggle to achieve relevance, personalization, and fulfill their brand promises.

This constant struggle stems from marketers' inability to reach customers' full potential due to a lack of insights, inaccurate data alignment, and no visibility into the customer lifecycle. The CMO Council's study, "Predicting Routes to Revenue," released yesterday and conducted in partnership with Pegasystems, highlights these disparities.

The study surveyed more than 150 marketers to better understand how these professionals are making the real-time decisions that impact customer engagement strategies and maximize revenue potential. Although most marketers said they recognize the need for real-time personalization and consistent experiences, many say they're unable to advance their efforts because of a lack of forward-looking campaign metrics and an incomplete view of the customer. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Only 3 percent of respondents believe they're realizing the full revenue potential of their customers, while 47 percent say they're not, and 44 percent are working on it. However, 49 percent of those surveyed agree that personalized engagements are necessary to maximize customer value, as are trusted omnichannel communications (41 percent), consistent cross-channel experiences (36 percent), and personalized deals and offers based on customer preferences (32 percent).
  • While only 16 percent of marketers claim their organizations are delivering customer experiences that truly fulfill their brand promises, 66 percent believe their efforts in this area are hit or miss, and 14 percent claim they're completely missing the mark.
  • Forty-five percent of respondents don't have good visibility or accurate valuations around customer lifetime value and retention rates, while 37 percent claim they're getting better. However, marketers actively look to their websites (74 percent) and sales and CRM-based consumer data (68 percent) to better understand customers. Customer satisfaction surveys (57 percent), social media feeds (53 percent,) and social media listening (49 percent) round out marketers' top five learning resources.
  • Forty-nine percent of marketers have had to more closely align with sales, service, and support to provide connected customer experiences. Yet, while 36 percent of respondents claim the market has become more cluttered and confusing over the past five years, 31 percent declare that they're able to provide better customer experiences because easy access to intelligence supports superior relevance and personalization.
  • Nearly half of all respondents (48 percent) indicate that their data lacks alignment as it's collected and analyzed separately, while 10 percent consider their data streams too complex to align completely. Only 3 percent of marketers report that their sources of customer insight are entirely integrated and aligned.
  • Most marketers (57 percent) describe their understanding and knowledge of how customers will react to engagement efforts as average or improving. Conversely, 21 percent of respondents admit that, while they can measure campaign performance, they lack predictive customer understanding. Instead, 41 percent of those surveyed claim their analytics only allow them to assess past performance metrics.

Key takeaway: While marketers are well aware of what needs to be done, many still lack the necessary data and insights about their customers. Efforts often stall because these companies also lack the talent and technologies required to reveal opportunities for improvement. For instance, only 7 percent of those polled claim that customers' mobile lifestyles have sparked a mobile-first mindset within their organizations. But, despite their inability to keep pace with consumer behavior, marketers are certainly on the right track. Over the next year, 61 percent of marketers plan to connect fragmented campaigns into a complete customer journey across the entire enterprise, thereby gaining a 360-degree view of the customer. Respondents also plan to add more personalized customer experiences based on customer data (59 percent), expand engagement channels (54 percent), align frontline resources (45 percent), and deliver real-time relevant offers (41 percent). These aspirations clearly indicate that marketers understand what's at stake if they don't bring these hypothetical ideals to life. By adopting these forward-looking strategies and gaining buy-in throughout the organization, marketers may finally be able to maximize their customers' full revenue potential and understand their lifetime value to the brand overall.