Braving Personalization: Most Marketers Increase Budgets While Facing Hurdles

A shocking 97% of U.S. businesses are unprepared for the demise of third-party cookies. And 86% acknowledge that their personalization capabilities are inadequate, according to a new study from Optimizely. 

First among their challenges is a lack of focused analytics (43%). They also face difficulty scaling personalization programs (40%) and hurdles in activating experiences in real-time (39%).  

This doesn’t bode well for beleaguered email teams that are trying to achieve dynamic messaging.  

Of the companies polled, 64% have started pursuing real-time personalization, but only 9% have reached full implementation.

Yet they are trying. Sixty-two percent have increased their personalization budget since last year. And they feel personalization can help them to:

  • Identify mistakes — 40%
  • Allow for data-driven decisions — 40%
  • Test strategies before they are employed — 39%
  • Personalize customer experiences — 39%
  • Discover which personalization strategies work — 39%



But obstacles keep getting in the way. For instance, only 26% have a unified definition of personalization across their company, while 36% concede they have disjointed workflows. On average, teams use six tools, while 39% use seven or more. 

The study describes this problem as “bloated personalization toolboxes.” But it could just as well lead to bloated email inboxes. 

And it’s risky — 43% fear an ineffective personalization campaign will lead to reduced future marketing budgets.

All this is happening as 75% of consumers are more likely to favor brands that personalize. 

"While executives know that investing in personalization and experimentation are key to survive in the new reality of digital experiences, they too often feel they don't have a streamlined, intuitive toolkit to implement effective campaigns at scale,” says Shafqat Islam, CMO at Optimizely.  “Accessing marketing solutions that create personalized digital platforms without third-party data will be key to thriving in the coming decades."

Optimizely surveyed 1,000 marketing executives in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand and Singapore.
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