Marketers Are Showing Customers Love

The old saying goes, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” Today’s marketers are taking heed of this advice: Instead of going after the hand that ultimately decides their fate, marketers are catering to their customers.

Indeed, Experian Marketing Services‘ annual “State of Cross-Channel Marketing Report” shows that companies are becoming more customer-centric. From message preferences to multitouch customer journeys, marketers are becoming more affable with their counterparts.

The report—which surveyed more than 100 marketers from leading brands worldwide in 2014 about their programs, tactics, technologies, and challenges—shows that brands are slowly adapting to ever-changing customer behavior and trends. Responses slightly varied by industry but the following trends are evident.

Marketers are letting customers call the shots, to an extent. Compared to 2013, brands were 65% more likely to allow customers to select the types of messages they received in 2014 and 48% more likely to let them choose how often they wanted to receive email. Also, the number of brands collecting customers’ communication channel preferences increased by 50%.

Ninety percent of marketing programs still focus on single-channel execution, but many adapt to coincide with shifting trends. Only 4% of brands integrated customer journeys across channels last year. Siloed marketing organizations (39%) and product-focused structure versus a customer-focused one (28%) were the top two hurdles marketers cited.

Ninety-four percent of companies link customer information across channels. The most popular piece of data used to link customer information across channels was the email address. In fact, email was recognized as the most widely used and valuable touchpoint on the customer’s path to purchase.

A tad below half (46%) of companies personalize messages across more than one channel. Of the companies that did personalize messages last year, 84% did so to improve customer engagement, followed by revenue generation, prospect conversion, and brand integrity.

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