Although marketers talk a lot about the importance of having a single view of the customer, very few have actually achieved it, according to a new study by marketing technology company Signal.
The study found that just 6% of marketers have figured out cross-channel identity, which, given its difficulty, didn’t surprise Joe Stanhope, SVP of marketing at Signal.
“There are so many different technologies and so many different sources,” Stanhope told CMO.com in an exclusive interview. “Just the sheer effort and technical wherewithal required to collect all that data and bring it together takes a lot of resources, time, and dedication.”
Marketers are also chasing a moving target when it comes to connecting all of their data, he added. “Every time you think you are going to break above water and get ahead of the game, a new channel, touch point, or device pops up,” Stanhope said. “That’s exciting, since we all like more ways to interact with customers. But it is tough, too, because there is always a new touch point, and the old ones don’t go away, so you are constantly piling on more and more touch points, more and more data.”
Signal’s study surveyed 171 brand and agency marketers online in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The marketing professionals represent more than 17 industries.
The good news, according to the study, is marketers indicated they are ready and willing to take on the challenge of cross-channel identity. Marketers rank cross-channel identity and a unified view as “critically important” to providing excellent user experiences, strengthening customer relationships, and increasing their returns on marketing investments.
To successfully implement a central view of the customer, marketers must begin with building a strong data foundation, Stanhope said. Collecting and matching first-party data in a centralized data warehouse is the first step.
In addition, the study suggests, taking a strategic approach to resolving customer identity, and building lasting profiles and matching capabilities as an ongoing process should be a top priorities for marketers.
“Getting a single view of the customer is hard, takes resources, and, emotionally, it is easy to just skip it and focus on something you know works, instead of pushing water uphill,” Stanhope told CMO.com. “But CMOs need to understand that this is an unprecedented opportunity because if only 6% have this, then that means those who do figure it out will create competitive advantages for themselves. That scarcity allows you differentiate yourself and create a better way to connect with customers across channels.”
For the full study click here.