Almost half (48%) of CMOs believe the customer experience their organisations deliver falls below or significantly below their customers’ expectations.
That’s despite more than three quarters (79%) recognising that delivering a premium customer experience is a powerful competitive advantage.
This is according to new MarTech Alliance and Treasure Data release new research, in which 200 markets in the UK, France and Germany were surveyed.
The study revealed that a lack of capability in leveraging and using customer data is stifling marketers’ abilities to meet customer expectations. 53% of CMOs cited insufficient skills in data management and/or knowledge of the right technology as the biggest barriers to realising their customer experience vision.
This is particularly concerning given that 73% of all people point to customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions.
Marketers also pointed to not having the necessary technology vendor solution(s) to achieve their goals (43%), lacking the staff and resources (28%) and concerns around stakeholder buy-in and approval (17%) as additional barriers to improving the customer experience.
Andrew Stephenson, director of marketing, EMEA at Treasure Data, said: “As it stands, businesses are sitting on a sea of data, but while modern marketers recognise its importance, they are not necessarily equipped with the skills to understand and unlock its potential.”
The world revolves around the customer more than it has ever done before, and 75% of senior marketers agreed that customers now expect highly relevant, personalised and integrated omni-channel messaging and experiences.
As a result, the top three customer experience initiatives marketers said they would focus on in 2021 were providing connected physical and digital experiences (50%), orchestrating omnichannel integrated marketing campaigns (37%) and delivering real-time experiences (35%).
Yet the report revealed that surprisingly few organisations have sophisticated data collection strategies in place. Only 20% of respondents that indicated they had a 360-degree view of the customer, said that their data is online and automatically connected.
In comparison, of the remaining respondents who said they have a 360-degree view of the customer, 29% said their data was offline and manually connected, and 39% said their data was only partially online, and automatically connected.
Stephenson added: “It is concerning that so few organisations have a true view of their customer. Consumers have high expectations, and they rightly want to know that if they trade in their data, that they will get better, more relevant customer experience.
“Unless businesses upskill their marketing teams, and think seriously about their data collection strategies, consumers will be forced to decide whether that brand is still worth something to them. As organisations look towards the future and adapt to post-pandemic behaviours, marketing and insight teams must make better data decisions, such as investing in a CDP, to ensure they remain competitive in 2021.”
Appetite to invest
As such, marketers indicated an appetite to invest and grow their data management capabilities, with 69% of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing that their organisations could drastically improve customer experience by introducing or better managing a customer data platform.
Carlos Doughty, CEO and founder of MarTech Alliance, said: “The CDP space is one of the fastest growing of all technologies across martech as it solves so many critical marketing challenges.
“And the results it delivers are tangible, you can directly connect a CDP to elevating your customer CX. I fully expect CDPs to continue to aggressively grow in demand and the letters CDP to become as common as CRM in the next few years.”