The Scoop: State of Cross-Channel Marketing Report

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Marketers from around the world are adopting more customer-centric engagement strategies, according to new research from Experian Marketing Services. This was one of the key findings from its annual State of Cross-Channel Marketing Report, which benchmarks how marketers understand customers and context, personalize experiences and optimize marketing performance across all customer touch points.

“The demand on brands to create highly relevant and meaningful interactions with their customers has never been greater. Yet, for many years, they didn’t have the means to do it,” says Matt Seeley, President, Experian Marketing Suite. “We’re seeing a clear shift in the industry as more marketers focus on putting the customer first and look to technology providers like Experian to help them get and stay close to their customers. Cross-channel marketing technology and predictive analytical tools have become smarter and more accessible to marketers, helping brands to manage data, understand the preferences of their customers and turn that intelligence into action across every channel at scale.”

Organizations today are more customer-centric than ever

Brands today are more customer-centric in their marketing than they were just a year ago. The report, which leverages year-over-year survey results, highlights several trends:

*Enterprise brands, like multichannel retailers, are asking their customers to set their own preferences.
* Brands today are 62% more likely to give their subscribers the ability to set their own preferences for branded communications than they were in 2013.
*Brands are 89% more likely to allow them to select the type of messages that they receive and 48 percent more likely to give options for how often subscribers want to receive those communications.
* Retailers are 87% more likely today to ask their customers to set their own preferences on communications channels (email, mobile, direct, social, etc.) and 65% more likely to allow them to set their category and product preferences.
*Further, retailers are 131% more likely to acquire mobile numbers through preference centers than nonretailers.

Marketers are taking action to improve their data hygiene
*Marketers are 53% more likely to execute data hygiene techniques than they were in 2013.
*Retailers are 13% less likely to undertake some form of data-hygiene process than nonretailers.
*However, when they do prioritize data hygiene, retailers are 38% more likely to use a data-hygiene provider than nonretail brands.

Brands are leveraging segmentation well beyond simple demographics

*More marketers are building segmentation strategies that focus on behavior and lifetime customer value over demographics. Overall, the majority of marketers (25% segment customer based on past activity or behavior.

“A marketer’s ability to collect, integrate, analyze and optimize data intelligently to arrive at meaningful and actionable customer insights is central to cross-channel marketing success and is the key to customer-centric marketing,” notes Seeley. “More marketers today have the means to extract actionable business intelligence from their data and are now assessing how well they can use that intelligence to drive enhanced results for the customer.”

The research indicates that marketers need to improve in key areas:
*Data Management and Linkage: 79% of companies face challenges when connecting disparate data to create a single customer view.

*Attribution: Marketers continue to struggle to measure results and understand how to improve. Last-touch attribution is prevalent among brand marketers, with 70% giving credit only to the last channel that the customer interacted with before making a purchase.

“Marketers struggling with customer-centricity need to prioritize attribution,” noted Seeley. “If they have the ability to show how cross-channel relevance drives customer loyalty and ultimately benefits their business’s bottom line, this gives the marketing organization a clear business case to make the customer, rather than a channel, a top priority across the organization.”
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