Marketers Claim Customer Focus, But Lose Sight of Data

Marketers admire Amazon’s data tracking and recommendation engine, aspiring themselves to offer customers relevant, personal experiences. But according to a Digiday/Acxiom State of the Industry survey released today, companies are hampering their customer-centric ambitions by failing to invest in data coordination themselves.

According to the survey, which polled 259 digital media executives, 51 percent aim to offer customers personal, relevant experiences. And 48 percent said they focus “relentlessly” on building customer insights and recognizing high value customer segments.

But few are executing those strategies in meaningful ways. Among respondents, 70 percent said their companies had little or no ability to integrate online and offline customer data. Another 74 percent said they can’t recognize their customers in real time. And while businesses want to identify their best customers, only 20 percent of respondents apply customer value scores.

In their white paper, “A Customer Centricity Paradox,” Acxiom and Digiday point out that these admitted weaknesses should inspire companies to integrate their data. Although 76 percent said they have problems working across multiple databases, just one percent said data integration is a chief priority.

So how can marketers use their data most efficiently?

  • Stop looking for the silver bullet: There is no single, most valuable source of data. All consumer data is valuable, but unless it is integrated, it is useless. Invest in database integration and collect data not only from your own channels, but from third parties as well.
  • Find your five-star customers: High-value customers buy more, cost less to serve and are highly influential. Marketers must find a way to identify their most important customers and use those profiles to find others like them. Over time, the value of your customer portfolio increases when you acquire new customers who match the profile of your best existing customers.
  • Use your online information offline: Most companies use online data to plan digital display campaigns. But online data should inform offline operations as well. If, for example, digital data reveals that geography influences purchasing habits, marketers should adjust circulars and other local advertising.

For more survey results, download the Acxiom/Digiday whitepaper. Or to hear an Acxiom CMO Tim Suther executive speak in detail about their findings at the Digiday Brand Conference in New York, tune into Livestream at 10:40 a.m. on Sept. 19.