Commentary

Data Driven Marketing Elicits Management Pressure

Most brands today collect loads of customer interaction data, says research reported by Sitecore. Everything from email opens and click throughs, white paper downloads to page views and time on site, to social engagement and browsing behavior. If the customer has supplied it, they likely also have demographic information, location, and industry.

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Harnessing data to create contextual insights is the bedrock of creating holistic end-to-end experiences that result in long term, repeat customers, says the report. In an ever more digitally disrupted world, this is the key imperative, and a key challenge, for organizations.

According to Sitecore, with commissioned research from Vanson Bourne to investigate the data challenges that brands face today, brand marketers feel the need to be more data-driven, even since the advent of customer relationship management (CRM) software.

But for every reason to be data driven, there are priorities and requirements. Internally, 92% of brand respondents report pressure from executive or senior management stakeholder; and for over a third, the pressure is high (37% and 36%, respectively). In addition, outside of their four walls, many face high pressure to be data-driven from competitors (35%), while a quarter (25%) face it from perhaps their most important stakeholder of all: the customer.

Evidence of this thirst for data can be seen in the sheer amount of it that brands collect when customers interact or purchase online. Brands report harvesting an average of eight pieces of data, ranging from more transactional details to behavioral insights and trends. The most common types of customer data that respondents’ brands collect online are:

  • Email address (89%) 
  • Name (84%) 
  • Telephone number (75%) 
  • Physical address (68%)

In their on-going quest to know customers better, some respondents’ brands are delving deeper:

  • Through purchasing (47%)
  • Browsing (31%)
  • Histories down to devices used (30%)
  • Social media habits (27%) 
  • Real-time geolocation (21%)

The report says that the sponsors are intrigued to learn that a greater proportion of customer respondents (56%) thought brands knew their purchase history than brand respondents said they were collecting (47%). This could speak to brands’ inability to integrate web content and commerce platforms and collect data across both systems.

Regardless of whether brands collect the right data, they do prioritize different types for different phases of a customer’s interaction with them. Most commonly, when customers are initially browsing, 51% of brand respondents believe using the customer’s name is the key to making the experience more personal. When customers are actively researching a purchase, 59% of brands prioritize purchase history, and 43% browsing history, as critical. For 38% At the point of purchase, and 49% after the sale , email interaction becomes more important, and more realistic, as customers likely offer an email address during the purchase process.

On average, brands say they’re collecting eight different types of data about online customers. A summary of key findings shows that:

Most brand respondents report they feel high or moderate pressure from executives, competitors, and customers, in that order, to be “data-driven.” 

  • Executive management (76%)
  • Competitors (74%)
  • Customers (58%)  

Many brand respondents report internal technical hurdles for their organization:

  • 42% have a lack of integration between data collection apps
  • 20% do not have the technology to collect online customer data
  • 15% do not have the technology to store it

Many struggle with the amount of real-time insights they can access, Only the minority can react to online customer interactions immediately: 43% in the pre-purchase stage, 38% during purchase, and just 35% post-purchase

  • 31% lack the in-house skills to analyze the data
  • Just 12% have data at an individual customer level (vs. segment or demographic group)
  • 65% of brand respondents’ organizations are using digital analytics software, with 30% only planning to adopt it 

Of those using digital analytics solutions, 53% say their organization is not completely satisfied. 

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