Marketers have heard it loud and clear: Personalization is important. But they’re still struggling to execute it. A critical issue? They haven’t mastered the development of a single customer viewpoint, and according to a July 2014 survey by Forbes Insights in association in Sitecore, fragmented and siloed data systems were a key factor preventing this.
Senior executives polled in North America said their companies were using an average of 36 different data-gathering systems and vendors—and some used more than 100. It comes as no surprise, then, that just 24% of respondents said the various customer communications and data-gathering systems they used were integrated or connected across their organization. On a more positive note, 56% said such systems were partially integrated, indicating they were taking steps toward a more streamlined future.
Senior execs’ priorities highlighted just how critical integration efforts were. Fully 62% said that creating a single, central customer marketing database that housed customer experience information was a priority, and 59% said the same about having a single system to deliver customer experiences across all potential digital channels.
A May 2014 study by Forrester Consulting commissioned by Conversant echoed these feelings. Fully 35% of US business-to-consumer marketing professionals said building a comprehensive single view of each customer across all sales and marketing channels was an extreme challenge to broader implementation of personalization, and 30% said it was a major challenge.
Meanwhile, 61% of respondents cited identifying, vetting and integrating technology, platforms and vendors to deliver personalized communications as a major or extreme challenge. Forrester noted that adopting up-to-date personalization technologies could integrate separate data sources and types, and as a result, help firms create that single customer view they’ve been longing for.