Marketers Are Improving in Their Use of Omni-Channel Data: 4 Points

March 20, 2020

Merkle Extent Personalization Across Channels Mar2020As consumers continue to shop and browse across multiple devices, it appears that marketers have certainly caught up with the trend. The vast majority of those surveyed by Merkle for their latest report [download page] say that they have moved from traditional campaign strategies to more omni-channel approaches (88%) and that they have high visibility into customer journeys in digital channels (84%).

Digging into the details, it seems that there is still a ways to go before such an omni-channel approach reaches maturity for all businesses, but things are coming along steadily. Here are a few takeaways.

Personalization Sees Progression

In the area of personalization, for example, a substantial share of marketers (44%) claim that when they first purchased personalization technology, they only managed to implement it for 1 or 2 channels within the first year. But given time, this does improve – to date, half (50%) of those surveyed claim to have implemented personalization across 5 or more channels.

This would be a better outcome than found in separate research from Evergage, in which three-quarters of marketers said they only had a “few” or “no” channels connected for such purposes.

That being said, it appears that only one-quarter (25%) of Merkle’s respondents say they are focused on real-time personalization (defined as at least 75% of personalization occurring at the exact time at which users engage).

Marketers Listen to Customers

It can be a challenge to listen to customers. Nonetheless, marketers rate their performance in this area strongly.

When asked to what degree their customers have direct input into product strategy and improvements, 82% of marketers rated customer input a 7 or higher on a scale of 0-10. Similarly, 84% said that they had a high degree of visibility into their customers’ journeys on digital channels.

All of this may be helping in both aligning on strategy and direction with their peers outside marketing.

Marketers Mostly Achieve Success in KPI Alignment

Given that success in marketing is largely down to meeting KPIs, the good news is that it’s common for marketers to report alignment with various stakeholders. For example, 63% agree that teams in their organization agree on a core set of KPIs (vs. 31% who disagree) while a similar percentage (62%) agree that there is a common understanding of the definition of success (vs. just 5% who disagree).

More than half of respondents (54%) also claim there are clear definitions for each metric (20% disagree), although a smaller share (41%) agree that their reports answer their business questions (27% disagree).

Half Claim Ownership Over Data Science

Interestingly, marketers feel that data science is a marketing function: half say that data science lives within the marketing organization, compared to 28% who say that it’s part of the IT team.

In addition, two-thirds (65%) say that they work “very closely” with IT in understanding their marketing technology, suggesting that even in areas they don’t own, they are largely collaborating. This marries with research by Gartner, which reports that IT has switched from being a detractor of marketing strategy to one of its champions.

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 400 marketers at major US and UK brands, primarily from retail consumer goods (27%) and financial (25%) industries.

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