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Ascend2 Critical Data Driven Marketing Trends Jun2020Data factors into the strategic decisions made by a majority of today’s marketers. A new survey [download page] from Ascend2 found that one-quarter of marketers are using marketing data as part of every strategic decision, while another 44% report that data plays a part in their decision-making most of the time.

However, a moderate share said that data is used in their strategic decision making only some of the time (26%) or never (5%), indicating that data-driven approaches aren’t universal.

That caveat aside, what data-driven trends are marketers pinpointing as most critical to their decision-making process in the year ahead? For many of the marketers surveyed, data-driven personalization (47%) and improving the customer journey (46%) were trends that they considered to be some of the most critical to the decision-making process. Others also cited predictive analytics (38%) and the alignment of online and offline data (33%), with fewer pointing to omni-channel marketing (21%), AI/machine learning (21%) and programmatic advertising (20%) as critical trends.

Optimizing the Customer Journey A Key Objective

Some 45% of respondents report having a strategy in place to have unified marketing data, while about one-third (32%) say they have a strategy in the works. Only one-quarter (23%) say they don’t have a strategy, nor do they plan on having one.

One of the objectives that two-fifths (42%) of those surveyed hope to achieve with a data-driven strategy for decision-making is to optimize the customer journey.

Although more than half (54%) of the respondents to Ascend2’s survey represented small companies (fewer than 50 employees), recent research shows that the majority (81%) of enterprise companies also see the importance of a cohesive customer journey as a way to improve customer experience. Added to that, a data-driven customer journey-based approach has been found to be the preferred approach for high-performing customer experience professionals.

What’s more, while many respondents consider improving the customer journey to be a primary objective for their unified marketing data strategy, only 3 in 10 (29%) consider it to be a critical challenge.

The same cannot be said for other key objectives such as increasing customer loyalty (46%) and increasing conversion rates (43%), which a similar percentage of respondents also found to be challenging.

Other Highlights

  • Marketers consider engagement (47%), customer retention rate (46%), conversion rates (45%) and customer lifetime value (40%) to be some of the most useful data for making better marketing decisions;
  • On the other end of the spectrum, far fewer marketers find multi-touch attribution (17%) and funnel/pipeline (16%) data to be helpful in their decision-making.
  • Although a majority of marketers expect to see their budgets decrease due to the COVID-19 outbreak, almost half of the respondents to this recent survey (fielded in early April) say their data management budget is increasing moderately (34%) or significantly (13%).

The full report can be found here.

About the Data: Results are based on an online survey of 277 marketers from a mix of B2B (38%), B2C (39%) and B2B and B2C equally (23%) companies fielded in the first week of April 2020.

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