Data-Driven Marketing: Are We There Yet?

Marketers now have access to more customer data than ever before.  So why are so many struggling to implement successful data-driven marketing strategies?

To find the answer, Return Path partnered with Ascend2 to conduct interviews with over 229 marketing influencers in the B2C space.  The research compiled in our Strategies and Tactics for Data-Driven Marketing report provides strategic and tactical insights to achieve data-driven marketing goals for personalization and customer acquisition.  Here are a few highlights to inform your data-driven marketing strategy:

Personalization is a priority
Personalizing the customer experience is a critical component of most data-driven marketing strategies. In fact, the vast majority of marketers surveyed (72 percent) chose the ability to personalize the customer experience over acquiring new customers (41 percent), and the ability to measure data-driven marketing ROI (37 percent), among other data-driven strategy goals.

Key Takeaway: As a growing number of marketers continue to look for opportunities to drive personalization in emails, subscribers’ expectations of a personalized email experience are also increasing.  As a result, email messages that aren’t tailored to accurately reflect individual subscriber interests, behaviors, or even anticipate needs will be more likely to be deemed as irrelevant, or worse, unwanted spam.

Data drives success
At the same time, marketers are driving email personalization efforts forward, they are often held back by the availability, quality, and integration of data across platforms. Almost half of marketerssurveyed (49 percent) reported enriching data quality and completeness as a significant barrier to data-driven marketing success while integrating data across platforms and measuring ROI were each significant barriers for 41 percent.

Key Takeaway: When developing a data-driven marketing plan, it’s critical to evaluate risk vs reward. Determine the key objectives for your strategy and factor in what role dependencies such as data integration; data integrity, and ROI measurement may play in a successful outcome.

Top goals offset barriers
Personalization is an important goal for twice as many marketers than those who view it as a barrier to success (72 percent vs 35 percent, respectively). In contrast, marketers report challenges with both data integration and quality are more significant than what they offer as important goals.

Key Takeaway: Availability of data typically isn’t a problem for most brands. Challenges arise from a lack of clear understanding about how to organize, categorize and utilize the information across platforms for relevant, ongoing targeting.  Brands with a solid approach to multi-platform data integration and data quality are best positioned to deliver a personalized, relevant customer experience. 

Tactical effectiveness varies
Targeted landing pages and personalized email messages are considered among the most effective data-driven marketing tactics and present the least difficulty for marketers.  Conversely, the least effective tactic – lead intelligence collection – is seen as 13 percent more difficult than it is effective.

Key Takeaway: Understanding which personalization tactics are most effective for your email program will help focus your efforts.  As you execute these tactics, continue to reevaluate their effectiveness as your customer needs, interests and expectations evolve.  Approach your data-driven marketing strategy as an evolution, not a revolution.

Read the full report for more insight on data-driven strategies. And to find out what role technology can play in your program’s success, read Technology is Changing, Is Your Marketing Strategy?

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