What Do Marketing and IT Teams Believe Are the Biggest Barriers to Personalization at Scale?

October 19, 2022

Only around 1 in 3 marketers and IT professionals say that customer data is used throughout the entire enterprise, whereas the remainder say that this data is primarily used by marketing/customer experience (CX) teams, according to a new report [download page] from Merkle.

The analysts note that when data isn’t available across the organization, this often results in different teams constructing their own “siloed data constructs,” which in turn leads to inconsistent, siloed, and disconnected information.

Indeed, 7 in 10 admit that their organizations store data either in channel-specific silos (39%), or some in channel silos, with digital interactions in an enterprise data store (31%).

This can have ramifications for personalization efforts. When asked to choose their biggest barrier to personalization at scale (from a list of 7), respondents were most likely to cite inconsistencies in audience segmentation across channels (25.1% share) and siloed teams that may have different priorities (24%).

Separately, marketing and IT teams believe that technology integrations are the main capability that would amplify the success of their martech stack, with integration becoming a bigger focus than martech acquisition. By comparison, fewer are focused on improvements to customer data as a way to boost their success.

The report argues, though, that “only when customer data is properly integrated, formatted, governed, and available in real time can today’s sophisticated CX stack deliver on its full promise.” In related findings, the report notes that only 15% of respondents have reached full omnichannel personalization maturity, while fewer than one-quarter have migrated all of their customer data to the cloud.

Other Survey Highlights:

  • Implementation challenges are cited as the leading challenge in implementing or using a customer data platform (CDP).
  • Only about 1 in 4 respondents said that technology decisions are made by marketing and IT collaboratively choosing and purchasing technology. The remainder were evenly split between marketing initiating and purchasing, IT initiating and purchasing, and marketing initiating and IT purchasing.
  • Marketing was cited at a slightly higher rate than IT when respondents were asked which group is the primary budget owner for CX platform technology purchases, although one wonders how these results broke out by respondent team. (Previous research from Merkle has found that IT teams believed the CIO was primarily responsible for CX transformation, while marketing teams felt that it was the CMO.)
  • A lack of a 360-degree customer profile (31.3% share) and difficulty bringing data sources together (29.9%) were closely grouped as the top inhibitors for analytics and insights teams.

For more, download the study here.

About the Data: The results are based on an August survey of more than 600 decision-making leaders in the US and UK, split almost evenly between marketing (50.1%) and IT (49.9%). All respondents worked at companies with at least $100 million in annual revenues.

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