Marketers ill-prepared to leverage data, experiences to improve brand engagement, study finds
- Marketers believe that the customer and human relationship element of their business is getting lost amid demands to master data and marketing technology, according to new research from the CMO Council and Harte Hanks shared with Marketing Dive. Forty-two percent of those surveyed believe "marquee experiential brands," such as Amazon, Google, Apple, Nike and Starbucks, serve as models that are not only developing better relationships with consumers, but also leveraging customer experience to drive profitability and growth.
- Forty-one percent of respondents said that centering on the customer relationship instead of campaigns is a challenge. About one-third admit to sometimes forgetting that campaign "targets" are human beings. The report emphasizes that, compared to Big Data, a stronger focus on "small data" — specific personal attributes delivered through channels like the Internet of Things (IoT) — can help bring a human touch back into marketing.
- However, 36% of respondents said that small data will be the biggest obstacle for their business. Another 42% said they were not prepared to leverage the intelligence gathered on their customers to deliver better experiences. None of the 152 executive respondents said they were well-prepared to integrate new experiences and intelligence points to improve brand engagement.
It's no secret that marketing has quickly evolved in recent years as digital has taken over the industry, and the latest CMO Council research shows how frustrations among professionals are growing with that change. Beyond being stewards of branding and marketing, CMO and equivalent positions more often need to master data and marketing technology, taking on increasingly complex roles as chief growth officers and chief technology officers. Balancing those digital duties with more traditional creative expertise clearly causes pain points, especially in regards to preserving a human, personalized touch while still delivering campaigns at scale.
The push-pull the report identifies between data and creativity has become increasingly apparent, particularly as data gets more granular and pours in from a larger number of channels, including IoT devices. Separate research from Sizmek found that 67% of marketers see creative suffering as marketing becomes more digital-focused. Among those surveyed by Sizmek, 91% planned to prioritize making digital ads more engaging over the coming year, and the same percentage believed creative input is just as important as data when informing digital campaign strategy.
These issues arise as consumers increasingly demand more relevant and personalized experiences, but largely feel underwhelmed when it comes to messaging. Consumers think 58% of content from brands is irrelevant and not meaningful, according to recent Havas research. Seventy-seven percent of brands could disappear and no one would care, the report found.
Brands that prioritize customer experience (CX) are seeing gains, however. Brands that continue to innovate customer experience grow 200% more than those not prioritizing their CX, per WPP and Kantar Millward Brown. Forrester also predicted that brands would re-evaluate their marketing technology in 2019 to emphasize CX and customer technology adoption in an effort to better tailor experiences.