How well are you using data to anticipate what’s ahead and then prepare for it? Although most marketers aren’t Warren Buffet, they have to get close to that, when it comes to knowing what their consumers want and need today, and what they’ll want tomorrow. Are they? In a new study from the CMO Council, only 5% of marketers said they can predict the consumer journey and adapt to it fast.
In “Predicting Routes to Revenue,” involving some 150 senior marketing executives in North America and Europe polled in the fourth quarter last year, 23% of respondents said they are able to develop predictive insights into broad customer trends, while another 20% felt they are only able to predict the next best action and struggle to move beyond that first step. Two-thirds said their success in delivering on their brand promise is sketchy, with 14% saying they aren’t delivering at all.
Marketers also said they aren’t terribly successful at aggregating, aligning and analyzing data across disparate sources. Forty-eight percent said data is collected and analyzed, but remains separate and is not well aligned. Only 3% say their current customer data sources are fully 360-degree. And almost half of marketers report that they have had to more closely align with sales, service and support to provide connected customer experiences.
That is a critical capability, per Liz Miller, SVP marketing at the CMO Council. She tells Marketing Daily that customer “decisioning platforms” should be organization wide. “When people talk about next best action and proactive analytics, there must be an infrastructure, or platform that indicates not only what is the next best engagement for a specific customer, but what is the next opportunity for that customer.”
She says alignment across the organization is a prerequisite to better data-driven decisions, “So it’s not just the customer-service guy who has access to a central decisioning platform based on customer history. It should empower the front line — in store, online support, chat, etc. The outcome is invariably improved, because it makes you the brand who delivers not only a highly personalized online experience, but also on the phone and in store.”
Marketers seem aware of this. They say that this year, first and foremost, they are looking to connect fragmented campaigns into a complete customer journey that is reflected and embraced by the entire organization. Fifty-nine percent of marketers said they plan on adding more personalized experiences based on customer data; 54% said they will expand engagement channels to better meet customers where they want to engage; 45% said they seek to align front-line resources (sales, service, in-store, support) to create exceptional experiences in any channel; and 41% are looking to the ability deliver real-time, relevant offers to optimize revenue.
The CMO Council study says the top sources of insights for marketers are corporate websites, for 74%, sales data and CRM-based customer records for 68% of respondents, and customer satisfaction surveys, for 57% of those surveyed. About half said they go to social media feeds and social media listening to get a bead on customer behavior and insights.
The most-used measures among respondents, 56% of whom are at organizations with more than $1 billion in revenue, are revenue metrics and campaign metrics. Miller says revenue metrics offer long-term insights into customer value, while campaign metrics are backward looking and say nothing predictive about customers. “But it cant just be metrics. Leading-edge marketers are taking the next step into advanced analytics; they are saying not just what is next step, but what is next best opportunity.”