Most marketers ‘failing to link data to customer behaviour’ – report


As brands begin planning marketing budgets and strategies for 2020, research reveals that the majority are failing to effectively use data and understand consumer behaviour, resulting in wasted marketing spend, according to new research.


The study, from Epsilon-Conversant, indicates that the inability to tie together data and customer insights and refine campaigns results in a shocking eight in ten (83%) marketing decision-makers reaching the wrong customer or offering irrelevant products or services. Consequently, for almost half (42%) this leads to wasted marketing spend.

The report also reveals the disconnect between C-level executives and those at director level with greater everyday visibility and insight. CMOs are 25% more likely than those at director level to be extremely confident in their customer profiles’ completeness and accuracy. Another 16% are more likely to believe that their brands are ready to leverage new online and offline customer data to update customer profiles.

The study of 200+ marketing and customer data decision-makers explored topics ranging from why companies invest in identity programs, including how they manage their programs and use cases, and the type of identifiers used for programmes (email address, cookies, device ID, etc.).

The study also explored the respondents’ confidence levels regarding their brands’ identity resolution capabilities.

“Identity is the foundation that allows brands to deliver relevant messages, while reducing waste, customer churn and optimising return on marketing investment,” said Ric Elert, president at Conversant. “When brands get identity right, it gives them a fighting chance to not only survive but thrive.”


Insight 1: The top goals over the next 12 months for marketers surveyed include winning new customers (34%) and increasing profitability per product/service (38%). Yet, the study reveals that too many programmes are unable to measure business and marketing performance.

• Overall, 43% of respondents say their brands use their ID resolution programmes to measure online and offline marketing performance.
• 29% of respondents said that they receive excellent support from identity resolution programmes for reducing marketing waste.
• 33% said that they receive excellent support for decreasing customer attrition and 42% for helping increase revenue per customer.

“We speak with marketing executives who tend to be too focused on data collection or campaign execution and aren’t thinking about measurement at all,” said Elert. “Brands that are seeing real results from their people-based advertising are committed to looking at all these areas holistically. You can’t measure performance without strong identity, and if you don’t measure, you won’t know what portion of your marketing spend is being wasted and you won’t have marketing efficiency.”

Insight 2: The study revealed a lack of alignment between C-level executives and less senior respondents regarding real-time application of insights, accuracy and persistence of identity. C-level executives who responded to the survey were:

• 25% more likely than directors to be extremely confident in their customer profiles’ completeness and accuracy;
• 32% more likely than directors to rate their programmes’ ability to reach people over time as excellent; and
• 16% more likely to believe their brands are ready to leverage new online and offline customer data to update customer profiles and activate against new information.

“The net result of this misalignment is significant damage to a brands’ ability to succeed. A lack of programme ownership can exacerbate the measurement and performance problems … because it can lead to a lack of true understanding across teams,” writes Forrester Consulting in the study. “Brands with misaligned identity resolution are left with broken customer experiences, wasted marketing spend, and lost opportunities to expand customer relationships with relevant cross-sell and upsell offers.”

“In the era of the direct brand economy, customer engagement has become the brand differentiator,” said Elert. “Brands are challenged to deliver on customer expectations across every interaction while dealing with the complexity of the mar tech and ad tech supply chain and increased privacy concerns. Building a unified customer identity is central to delivering on consumer expectations and company growth.”

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