Marketers Struggle With Tying Data To AI Systems

Data supported by artificial intelligence (AI) has become an essential part of campaigns these days, yet marketers are still struggling to deliver better experiences for consumers.

One reason to integrate data with AI is to reduce the time it takes to find the nuances within the data, but executives agree there are gaps in technology that fail to connect data and provide one view of a consumer record that includes their likes and dislikes.  

About 21% of marketers believe data is a challenge to access and difficult to use, according to a report released July 2 from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and IBM Watson Customer Engagement, "Doing More with Data: Discovering Data-Accelerated Revenue Traction."

Some 42% of supply chain and 37% of commerce executives believe there is just not enough time, budget or patience to unlock data’s untapped potential.



When marketers were asked about the specific data challenges that are holding them back, 55% cited the lack of systems that connect data silos and boost accessibility; 52% cited the lack of the talent needed to move from data aggregation to use; 39%, a lack of transparency into data systems to determine what's available; and 37% said they lack the budget to execute new systems. 

The CMO report analyzes the differences in perception across marketing, commerce and supply-chain executives. It also looks at in-depth best practices, with interviews from executives at brands including Nordstrom, Lamps Plus, The Body Shop, AT&T, and TD Bank.

Roughly 165 executives participated in the online survey in the second quarter of 2018, with 44% of respondents holding marketing roles -- 24% from supply chain and operations, and 19% from commerce.

Earlier this year, a CMO Council research study showed that misuse of misinterpretation of -- or just plain missing intelligence from -- data has inadvertently created frustrating experiences for consumers. In this study, 47% of consumers say that if the brands they love provide a frustrating experience, they will stop doing business with them, while 45% say they also will intentionally seek out the competition to spend their money where they believe it is more valued.

In an effort to alleviate some of the frustration, the more recent study, "Doing More with Data," suggests that 78% of companies want to implement AI-driven tools in the next 12 months. And 33% that plan to implement the technology believe it will be the key to delivering the greatest impact on operations and customer engagement.

Not surprisingly, 33% of those surveyed feel the current state of access to data has become “hit or miss,”  limited by the connections across functions, systems and platforms.

Some 68% of marketers admit that second- and third-party data is only partially or barely integrated into current data systems. Dark data, defined for this study as unstructured, untagged and untapped data that has not been analyzed or processed, has frustrated marketers who are struggling to turn it into actionable intelligence.

One of the more difficult realizations from the study is that instead of streamlining operations, data has forced marketers to spend massive amounts of time managing, manipulating or manually exporting and importing spreadsheets and reports.

This column was previously published in the Data & Programmatic Insider on July 2, 2018.

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