Majority of CMOs struggling to unify online and offline

85% of marketers are having trouble joining together their online and offline customer data, new research by Conversant has found.

As part of its CMO report, the company surveyed over 60 international CMOs about the challenges they face in today’s data-driven market. The findings show that a minority of 16% were ‘very confident’ that they are capable of identifying an individual across multiple devices online.

61% said that they are aiming to build closer customer relationships. But while technology provides the tools to make this a reality, many CMOs are failing to use technology to reach customers on a personal level.

Only 15% of those surveyed felt confident that they really knew who their customers are.

“The word personalisation is often bandied about by marketers, but few are actually doing it right,” said Elliott Clayton, VP of Media UK, Conversant.

“In fact, the large majority of marketers don’t have sufficient clarity to tell if it’s the same customer online and offline, or between their smartphone and laptop. Not only will this annoy customers, but it’s a waste of marketing spend – you could easily be advertising a product to a customer who just purchased it.”

Losing track

The main issue that seems to be hampering the ability of CMOs to forge tighter bonds with their customers is a lack of effective tracking. 65% said that they do not currently track online and offline sales, and less than a quarter make use of real-time customer activity to tweak and hone their digital marketing.

34% still use click data as the only way of measuring their channel impact.  

“A big obstacle to delivering one-to-one marketing at scale is correctly measuring and tracking customer data,” continued Clayton.

“To see clearly and reach customers on a personal level, marketers need to analyse their customers’ purchasing habits and behavioural data online, offline and across devices.”

Recent ONS figures show that in the UK, 17% of all retail shopping is done online.  

“It’s essential to understand what’s going on offline. Data is such a vital asset for this, but only if it is used correctly – it’s tempting to rely on lazy metrics like clicks, but these simply don’t gauge return,” Clayton said.

“And if you can’t identify your customers, nor identify incremental improvement from your marketing activity, then you don’t actually know who you’re communicating with and how these communications are affecting your business.”

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