NEW YORK, April 14, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Marketers from around the world are adopting more customer-centric engagement strategies, according to new research from Experian Marketing Services, a recognized leader in cloud-based marketing technology. This was one of the key findings from its annual State of Cross-Channel Marketing Report, which benchmarks how marketers understand customers and context, personalize experiences and optimize marketing performance across all customer touch points.
A complimentary copy of the report can be accessed on the Experian Marketing Services Website: http://bit.ly/1xTNkPu.
"The demand on brands to create highly relevant and meaningful interactions with their customers has never been greater. Yet, for many years, they didn't have the means to do it," said Matt Seeley, President, Experian Marketing Suite. "We're seeing a clear shift in the industry as more marketers focus on putting the customer first and look to technology providers like Experian to help them get and stay close to their customers. Cross-channel marketing technology and predictive analytical tools have become smarter and more accessible to marketers, helping brands to manage data, understand the preferences of their customers and turn that intelligence into action across every channel at scale."
Organizations today are more customer-centric than in 2013
As Experian Marketing Services describes in the report, brands today are more customer-centric in their marketing than they were just a year ago. The report, which leverages year-over-year survey results, highlights several trends:
Enterprise brands, like multichannel retailers, are asking their customers to set their own preferences: Brands today are 62 percent more likely to give their subscribers the ability to set their own preferences for branded communications than they were in 2013. Further, they are 89 percent more likely to allow them to select the type of messages that they receive and 48 percent more likely to give options for how often subscribers want to receive those communications. Retailers are 87 percent more likely today to ask their customers to set their own preferences on communications channels (email, mobile, direct, social, etc.) and 65 percent more likely to allow them to set their category and product preferences. Further, retailers are 131 percent more likely to acquire mobile numbers through preference centers than nonretailers.
Marketers are taking action to improve their data hygiene: Marketers are 53 percent more likely to execute data hygiene techniques than they were in 2013. Retailers are 13 percent less likely to undertake some form of data-hygiene process than nonretailers. However, when they do prioritize data hygiene, retailers are 38 percent more likely to use a data-hygiene provider than nonretail brands.
Brands are leveraging segmentation well beyond simple demographics: More marketers are building segmentation strategies that focus on behavior and lifetime customer value over demographics. Overall, the majority of marketers (25 percent) segment customer based on past activity or behavior. When it comes to email marketing, marketers are 6 percent more likely to execute some form of email segmentation than in 2013. The most popular forms of email segmentation are activity- and transaction-based triggers. Interestingly, the amount performing language segmentation increased the most year-over-year (+76 percent), followed by value segmentation (+40 percent).
Marketers are testing their campaigns to understand what works for their customers: Ninety-two percent of marketers are testing their marketing programs to understand customer preferences and marketers are more likely to focus on testing campaign performance in email than in other channels. Testing allows marketers to identify underperforming campaigns and adjust in real-time. For example, marketers testing offers may bring to light that a target consumer responds better to a "dollars off" than a "percentage off" offer. Those results can be used to determine where similar improvements can be made to other channels. Marketers are 42 percent more likely today to view time-of-day testing as an effective test in 2014 than they did in 2013. Meanwhile, nonretailers are 64 percent more likely to claim effectiveness in creative testing than last year.
"A marketer's ability to collect, integrate, analyze and optimize data intelligently to arrive at meaningful and actionable customer insights is central to cross-channel marketing success and is the key to customer-centric marketing," noted Seeley. "More marketers today have the means to extract actionable business intelligence from their data and are now assessing how well they can use that intelligence to drive enhanced results for the customer."
Significant barriers to customer-centric marketing remain
While marketers clearly are showing improvement in their customer-centric marketing strategies, only 4 percent of brands reported having an integrated customer journey across touch points. Marketers cited siloed marketing organizations (39 percent) and a product-focused structure versus a customer-focused one (28 percent) as the primary barriers.
The research indicates that marketers need to improve in several key areas:
Data Management and Linkage: Seventy-nine percent of companies face challenges when connecting disparate data to create a single customer view.
Attribution: Marketers continue to struggle to measure results and understand how to improve. Last-touch attribution is prevalent among brand marketers, with 70 percent giving credit only to the last channel that the customer interacted with before making a purchase.
"Marketers struggling with customer-centricity need to prioritize attribution," noted Seeley. "If they have the ability to show how cross-channel relevance drives customer loyalty and ultimately benefits their business's bottom line, this gives the marketing organization a clear business case to make the customer, rather than a channel, a top priority across the organization."
About Experian Marketing Services Experian Marketing Services is a leader in data-driven marketing and is the only company in the world to offer a comprehensive Marketing Suite that unites customer insights, analytics, data quality and cross-channel marketing technology into a single platform. Backed by the industry's highest-rated client services team, we own and maintain the world's largest consumer database and provide marketing services and cloud-based technology to more than 10,000 brands in more than 30 countries. With significant presence in the world's largest economies and a portfolio including many of today's most well-known and respected global brands, we provide enterprises with unique competitive advantages through marketing services and technology. Our extended legacy in data security, management and consumer privacy has earned the trust of organizations and consumers from around the world for more than three decades. For more information, please visit www.experian.com/marketingservices.
About Experian We are the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to our clients around the world. We help businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. We also help people to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft. In 2014, we were named by Forbes magazine as one of the "World's Most Innovative Companies."
We employ approximately 16,000 people in 39 countries and our corporate headquarters are in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended March 31, 2014, was US$4.8 billion.
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