The CX Squeeze: Are Brands Really Ready For The Digital Future?

Brands are working to improve the customer experience — and some believe they have a deadline, according to The State of Customer Experience Transformation, a study by Merkle.

Of those polled, 31% feel they won’t be around in 10 years if they fail to achieve CX transformation now. However, 57% don’t think they will be in any danger. And 86% believe they are meeting their customers’ needs.

Unfortunately, only 35% of consumers agree their needs are being met, according to Merkle’s recent Consumer Sentiment Report. 

That said, 80% of brands believe customers care about personalization a great deal. But “personalizing the first name of an email is no longer considered ‘personalization in the eyes of most advanced marketers,” the study notes. 

What is needed is the ability to personalize across channels.

Of those polled, 73% say insights from one channel inform targeting in other channels. 



OF the brands represented, 34% have implemented personalization in three to four channels, and 33% in five to six. 

Another 17% have done so in seven or eight, and 7% in more than eight. Only 8% specify one to two, and 1% none. 

Above all, hey need unified data. But while 90% believe consolidating customer profiles is imperative, only about 50% are investing in the ability to do so. Companies are now investing around 20% of their technology budgets in identity based solutions. 

Here are the hurdles that prevent them from gaining meaningful insights from data:

  • Data is not organized for easier consumption — 50%
  • Limited storage accessibility — 39%
  • Current data analytics processes are too slow — 38%
  • Understanding what data is not important to decision makers — 38% 
  • Data integration is difficult and time consuming — 38%
  • Data is stored in disparate systems — 35%
  • Limited access/availability — 32%

The challenges are different when it comes to achieving digital transformation:

  • Legacy technology — 26% 
  • Skill set gaps — 22%
  • Rapid pace of change — 19% 
  • Company culture — 17% 
  • Siloed data — 16%

In other findings, the study found that 55% have moved to cloud-based solutions and 40% plan to do so within 12 months. In addition, 84% have their existing marketing data on the cloud or plan to in six months.  

Merkle surveyed 818 marketing, IT and Tech executives in the U.S. and UK. The report was produced with the collaboration of Adobe, AWS and Salesforce. 


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