CMOs Are Struggling With Cross-Channel Personalization

One a quarter of CMOs polled are confident in their abilities to execute personalization. This can be interpreted as deficient or exemplary. It all depends on how one defines “personalization.”

This particular group of 170 chief marketers—who are all members of the CMO Council, and 43% of whom represented billion-dollar enterprises—mostly adhere to the technologically enabled definition of the time. “Today, it’s about engagement across a multitude of touchpoints,” says CMO Council SVP of Marketing Liz Miller. “It used to be mirroring back to the customer things you knew about them, like making sure products you offered to them were about snow, not about surf. Now, not only do you have to understand customers’ lives in a snowbound area, but you also have to know who’s never owned a snow blower and has been looking for a snow removal service.”

Chief marketers in this study were asked to consider this “new” conceptualization, and they admitted they’re struggling with it. Only 14% said they’re able to execute personalization across the entire customer journey, though 36% said they’re succeeding in select channels.

“If a marketer is ready with data to set up personalized campaigns, it’s not the same as setting up personalized experiences. There’s personalization that creates a one-to-one, relevant interaction, but what we’re talking about here is personalization on steroids,” says Debbie Qaqish, chief strategy officer of The Pedowitz Group and author of The Rise of the Revenue Marketer. “Creating personalized digital experiences means creating predictive models.”

Predictive analytics, however, registered low on CMOs priority lists; only 12% singled out the technology as a “must-have” for successful personalization. The largest faction, comprising 37% of the sample, said their chief aim was to have personalization powered by a single view of the customer, an answer that might unwittingly presuppose predictive modeling.

Miller thinks that’s the case, and that the term still frightens most chief marketers. “Ask someone how they’re doing with analytics and they’ll say, ‘Getting there.’ Add the word ‘predictive’ and it seems a couple of steps away from where marketers feel they are right now,” she says. “The question is, can the CEO make customer experience a priority? You have to have a CEO or a CDO declaring this a data governance priority.”

Internal customer data will have to flow more freely to provide marketers with the metrics they’re demanding for single-customer views. One of the standout findings of the survey was that clicks, views, and opens ranked third on the CMOs’ list of top metrics, behind retention and acquisition rates. “This is the first time that clicks and views ranked third,” Miller says. “What that tells me is that marketers are looking hard at their customer experience strategies.

The largest bloc of those surveyed, 40%, classified their customer experience initiatives as “slowly evolving,” and that rings true to revenue-marketing guru Qaqish. “There are some small numbers in this survey of marketers saying they’ve arrived, but the good news is that these numbers are crawling upwards,” she observes. “What we have here is a tale of early adopters leading the way.”

Source: CMO Council

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