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Research has shown that personalization can provide a significant lift for marketers across various KPIs, and a new Monetate survey [download page] of 131 marketers finds that they are in the process of implementing personalization strategies at their organizations.

The most common ways businesses are using data to create personalized experiences include by incorporating lookalike advertising engines (87%), in-store or customer service clienteling tied to digital channel behavior (83%) and dynamic content creation/promotion generator (75%), which would appeal to the many consumers who find personalized ads to be more engaging and relevant. Many are also using data to power product recommendation engines, though fewer are using data sources to personalize triggered emails, which have been shown to have higher response rates than general business-as-usual emails.

An overwhelming 90% of respondents reported being in various stages of implementing a personalization strategy. Of those, email activity is the leading source of data used to support personalization efforts, followed by mobile actions and purchase history. The least-used source reported are POS systems and sales associate data, demonstrating the challenge of integrating and utilizing both offline and online data insights.

Despite optimism about personalization, marketers are confronted with numerous obstacles in moving beyond segmentation to true 1-to-1. Chief among these are organizational constraints that make it hard to hold anyone accountable to personalization goals (91%), followed by the task of automating decisions at scale (79%). The inability to readily interpret the data within the larger context also creates a significant barrier: marketers are struggling to both assemble a real-time view of a customer with full context and to understand buyer behavior in context (68 and 65% respectively).

Nevertheless, personalization will be a priority for marketers this year, judging by the budget plans expressed by marketers around the world.

About the Data: The research study was promoted via email and social media sites. Of the 131 marketers who participated in the study, VPs, directors of e-commerce or digital marketing and marketing managers represented the majority and largely represented the retail and travel and hospitality industries. Most respondents have over 1 million monthly e-commerce site sessions, and about three quarters are headquartered in North America.

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