Forbes Report: The Data-Driven, Customer-Centric Future of Marketing


Last week Forbes released their Insights Report on Data Driven and Customer Centric marketing. The survey reached 162 U.S.-based senior executives from companies with at least $250 million in annual revenues. The report uncovered a strong surge in executive interest for data-driven marketing and its impact on marketing initiatives. It also uncovered some of the main barriers-to-entry for a truly data-driven, customer-centric marketing operation.

Progress in Data-Driven Marketing Efforts

Let’s start with the positive. There are many reasons to be optimistic: “64% of survey respondents ‘strongly agree’ that data-driven marketing is crucial to success in a hyper-competitive global economy,” and almost half have realized tangible benefits from informing their marketing campaigns with analytics. Also, over 50% of the senior executives surveyed reported support from senior leaders for data initiatives and establishing a company wide vision for how analytics can drive improvements within the organization.

The goal of these data-driven marketing efforts has evolved from increasing conversion rates of static campaigns to “reach[ing] customers at a precise point in the customer journey with timely and relevant messaging.” These changes are not simply influencing marketing campaigns, they are fundamentally shifting the culture of enterprise brands into customer-centric organizations focused on their audiences rather than internal metrics.

The Work Ahead

The goal of reaching prospects with the right message at precisely the right point in the buying cycle, however, is far from fully realized. For many marketers, there are three main challenges:

  1. Silo-ed data – “72% of respondents are still primarily focused on knowledge gathering rather than making real and actionable use of their data,” and 61% say that breaking down silos of data between internal departments is their biggest obstacle to developing data-driven marketing strategies.
  1. Piecemeal data technologies – “A mere 14% of respondents have a portfolio of tools for analysis and planning that are established and fully supported by a single platform and best practices.” A fragmented marketing technology ecosystem has created a reality in which marketers and organizations are using a mix of technologies that are imperfectly integrated and not well coordinated.
  1. Defining audience and segments – 56% of respondents chose finding actionable insights and gleaning a better understanding of customers from data as their biggest challenge. Collecting data is only half the battle, to be successful, digital marketers will need to work to glean actionable insights to influence their marketing campaigns and messaging.

The Customer-Centric Universe

For businesses implementing data-driven initiatives, the main source of value today are still top-line profitability and sales efficiencies, but soon customer loyalty, satisfaction and retention will become the driving indicators of modern marketing. For B2B businesses in particular, the value of their brand will again become an important benchmark, alongside existing metrics of MQLs, SQLs and opportunity pipelines.

To see how we approach the rise of the data-driven, customer-centric enterprise, read our Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Predictive Intelligence.

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