What Are Organizations’ Top Data-Driven Marketing Goals and Challenges?

April 19, 2016

EconsultancyAdobe-Top-Goals-for-Data-Driven-Marketing-Apr2016Company marketers see an improved customer experience as their top goal for using data in marketing, while agencies are slightly more focused on identifying new audiences and customers, according to a study from Econsultancy and Adobe [download page] that surveyed almost 3,700 marketing, digital and e-commerce professionals around the world. Retaining and upselling existing customers is also a key goal for respondents, who are slightly less concerned with increasing the ROI of their marketing and sales budgets.

While ROI may not be at heart of a data-driven marketing program, improving measurability appears to be the key priority for a data management strategy, per results from a separate survey [download page], this time conducted by Ascend2 and its Research Partners. That research concludes that improving ROI measurability is the most important goal of a marketing data management strategy, followed by improving data quality and increasing data use and accessibility.

For the time being, fewer than 1 in 10 organizations have defined an advanced set of KPIs in order to measure ROI and adjust their marketing split, according to the Econsultancy and Adobe study, and well-defined data strategies are also relatively scarce. Just 26% of company respondents reported having either a solid (18%) or comprehensive (8%) strategy for better using data, with the majority instead saying they’re working on such efforts. Additionally, only about 1 in 3 report having a documented strategy, and even fewer (15%) have one that extends more than 24 months into the future.

For company marketers, the strategy for using data in marketing is most commonly determined through some collaboration between marketing, finance, sales and technology, led by marketing (39%). Another 22% say that there is little collaboration, but that it is led by marketing, while 1 in 5 report some level of technology-led collaboration.

It’s possible even a defined strategy wouldn’t help too much: only a minority (46%) of company marketers feel that they have the tools they need to succeed with a strategy for using data to drive their marketing.

In-house marketers reported a number of other challenges to using data in their marketing programs:

  • Almost 2 in 3 agreed that the siloed nature of their organization prevents them from better using data in marketing;
  • 7 in 10 agreed that they are challenged in attracting the right staff to take advantage of capabilities such as predictive analytics and audience amplification; and
  • A majority (55%) agreed that executive leadership has not committed to the necessary investments to bets use data in their marketing programs.

Meanwhile, when it comes to marketing data management success, top hindrances identified in the Ascend2 study include poor data use/accessibility (44%), poor data quality (44%) and poor database integration (40%).

Difficulties integrating data are hampering efforts to achieve a single customer view: 83% of company respondents to the Econsultancy and Adobe survey agree that they struggle with the merger of data points to achieve a whole customer view.

Perhaps as a result, only 20% of company marketers surveyed said that they have created an actionable “single customer view” that combines data sources about each individual. The quest to achieve this whole customer view has been lingering for years now, and only around 1 in 8 company marketers say that a single customer view is currently being implemented at their organization.

Among those who have achieved a single customer view, the most common components used are:

  • Merged database records from marketing, CRM, billing and/or other systems (68%);
  • Interactions with external touchpoints such as marketing campaign data (64%);
  • Interactions with internal touchpoints such as website behavior (60%);
  • Historical purchases and behaviors (60%); and
  • Integrated third-party data, such as geography (51%).


The importance of achieving a single customer view is brought to light by its perceived benefits. To come full circle, the top area where having such a view has had a significant, positive impact on marketing? An improved customer experience.

About the Data: The Econsultancy and Adobe results are based on a survey conducted in November 2015 among 3,687 marketing, digital and e-commerce professionals, including 55% marketing professionals from the client-side and 45% from the supply-side (including agency marketers, consultants and those working for technology vendors or other service providers). Some 51% of respondents are based in Europe, with North America (33%) the next-most heavily represented region. Company respondents were fairly evenly split between B2C marketing (38%), B2B marketing (34%) and an equal mix (28%). Technology (15%) and financial services (11%) were the most heavily-represented industries.

The Ascend2 report is based on a survey of 183 marketing influencers conducted 4/1-4/7/2016. Almost two-thirds (65%) of respondents say they are primarily B2B.

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