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Companies at the highest levels of digital maturity – numbering about 1 in 4 enterprise organizations across North America and Europe – rely on data “as a foundation for all of their digital efforts,” says Adobe in its 2017 Digital Marketing Study. These companies are increasing their budgets for personalization and optimization, and recognize the importance of investing in a 360 degree view of the customer.

The ability to gain a whole view of the customer – something that has eluded marketers for years – depends in part on the integration of data from different sources. So which sources are being used to augment data-driven marketing?

Reliance on CRM Data Diminishes; Predictive Analytics Trending Up

In its survey, Adobe found that CRM data remains the most common approach taken to augment data-driven marketing, by almost half (48%) of respondents.

However, the use of CRM data – along with the use of audience definition (33%) – are both down by almost one-third from last year.

In their stead, the tide appears to be turning towards the use of predictive analytics. While still in relative infancy, the use of predictive analytics has grown by 36% year-on-year, such that 34% of organizations now rely on this approach to enhance their data-driven marketing.

The use of predictive analytics is further along in North America (39%) than in Europe (31%), but has grown much more quickly in the latter (up from 19% last year).

Digitally mature companies acknowledge the importance of predictive analytics: 69% feel that it’s a “very important” investment to make in the next 3 years. Last year’s study came to a similar conclusion, noting that predictive analytics was one of the hallmarks of digitally mature organizations.

Reports have pointed to the “increased accessibility” of predictive analytics today, but this is clearly still an area where there is much room for growth.

Overall, 89% of marketers believe that predictive marketing will be important in the next 3 years. Other areas of importance in the coming years include campaign orchestration (89%), content marketing (90%), audience reach (90%) and the holy grail – the whole customer view (93%).

Analytics, Optimization Budgets to Grow

Roughly half of the organizations surveyed plan to increase spending optimization (51%), personalization (51%), automation (50%) and analytics (50%) budgets in the next year, per the report.

At least as far as analytics goes, some of those budgets look likely to be spent on real-time analytics.

Currently, fewer than one-third (32%) of respondents use real-time analytics. But another 18% plan to use real-time analytics in the coming 3 years.

In fact, the use of various types of analytics is expected to rise in the coming years, ranging from website analytics (61%, up from 49%) to email optimization (51%, up from 36%) and mobile app analytics (44%, up from 30%).

Marketers Look to Improve the Mobile Experience

The use of mobile applications and responsive design websites now each stand at 49% of respondents, per the report. With the proliferation of mobile devices and their growing influence on digital media, marketers are prioritizing certain changes in their mobile marketing.

Chief among those is an improved customer experience. In order to improve the mobile experience, organizations will be looking to focus on personalization, mobile analytics and data integration.

Other Findings

More interesting data from the report are highlighted below.

  • Almost 8 in 10 digitally mature companies automate personalized content for the web, while 64% use dynamic content in emails and 52% personalize email content. Websites and email remain the most commonly personalized areas, according to separate research, though there seems to be some movement towards personalizing search and social.
  • Resource availability (85%), knowing how to test effectively (84%) and determining the significance of results (83%) emerge as the biggest testing challenges for organizations. Marketers are increasingly testing a variety of areas beyond just websites, per new research.
  • Content personalization is the number one strategic capability in the next 18 months, according to the survey’s respondents. New research shows that B2B marketers are prioritizing content personalization – and more data surrounding this area can be found in MarketingCharts’ Key Marketing Enablement Trends deck [download page].

About the Data: Adobe’s report is based on a survey of 1,165 digital marketers in enterprise companies in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, with an average company size of more than 7,000 employees.

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