Organizations are shifting to more data-driven strategies. Some 85% of US organizations are increasing their focus on data experience, and more than half of advertisers say using data insights to guide long-term strategy is likely to become the norm in the next few years. With this in mind, a report [download page] from Ascend2 and its Research Partners reveals that budgets dedicated to data-driven marketing are trending upward in the next year.
The survey of more than 450 marketers indicates that the majority are planning to increase their dedicated data-driven marketing budget in the year ahead either significantly (17%) or moderately (65%). Fewer than 1 in 5 (17%) say they’ll be decreasing their data-driven marketing budget.
Using Customer Data for Decision-Making
Nearly all the marketers surveyed say that, at least to some extent, customer data is a driving factor in their marketing decision-making. Indeed, about one-quarter (24%) say it is always a driving force, while more than one-third (36%) say is a driving force most of the time. Fewer say that their use of customer data factors into their decisions sometimes (28%) or very little (8%).
Encouragingly, marketers appear to be satisfied with their ability to use customer data to make decisions. About 8 in 10 report being very (25%) or somewhat (54%) satisfied by their team’s ability to make data-driven decisions. However, there is some room for improvement, with about one-fifth saying they are somewhat (14%) or very unsatisfied (3%) with their team’s strategies.
Where Customer Data is Most Useful
A previous report from Salesforce shows the most commonly used customer data sources were known digital identities, transactional data, declared interests or preferences and second-party data. Ascend2’s research indicates that marketers are finding this data to be useful in areas of data-driven marketing such as personalization (42%), email marketing (38%), content strategy (36%) and product and services development (36%).
While marketers are finding data-driven marketing to be useful in these areas, it doesn’t mean that it’s not without its challenges. An earlier report from Ascend2 found that marketers are having problems unifying and maintaining data quality. This more recent report does show that changing quality of data has impacted data-driven marketing in the past year. However, more respondents report that changing consumer behaviors and technology innovation have had the most impact on their data-driven strategy.
Additionally, some say changing data and privacy regulations are having an impact on their strategy. This comes as third-party cookie deprecation becomes a top challenge for industry professionals.
Finally, in the coming year, marketers say they hope to focus on improving many areas of their data-driven strategy. The top areas include personalization, data quality and utilizing more available data sources.
Read the full report here.
About the Data: Findings are based on a September survey of 485 marketers. About half (52%) of respondents are with B2C organizations, while the remainder are at B2B (25%) companies or B2C and B2B (23%) companies.