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Marketers Coming Up Short on Personalization

Julian Zeng

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Survey respondents think more can be done to form better customer relationships

To say that personalization can lead to a better overall customer experience is far from groundbreaking. But many marketers are still generally unsatisfied with their efforts, despite overwhelmingly agreeing (98%) that personalization helps advance customer relationships.

These findings come from a report by Evergage and Researchscape International that surveyed 314 marketing professionals across global companies of varying sizes and industries, predominantly in the U.S. Seventy percent of respondents claim personalization has a “strong” or “extremely strong” impact on cultivating customer relationships, and 85% say their existing customers and prospects expect personalized experiences.

Delivering better customer experiences is the top priority among marketers (88%), as well as increasing brand loyalty (59%), generating measurable lift and ROI (50%) and driving more leads (44%). But despite the acknowledgement of their customers’ expectations of personalized experiences, only 43% are driven to implement it.

Marketers cited numerous impediments to their full acceptance of and confidence in their personalization efforts. Among the top factors impeding marketers were issues with data, siloed personalization, limited resources and inadequately maximizing their potential.

Only a third of marketers believe that they’re delivering personalization to customers effectively, but there is evidence that they are implementing more sophisticated methods. Use of machine learning and algorithmic personalization is up to 40% from 26% last year, and the deployment of emails based on a user’s on-site behavior is up from 35% last year to 45%. Cross-channel connections have risen from 46% to 53%.

Marketers with strong personalization efforts report favorable results. Ninety percent saw a measurable lift—58% experienced a lift of more than 10% and 15% reported one of greater than 30%. Support and investment in personalization has thus grown, with 97% of organizations planning to maintain or increase their personalization budgets this year.

Read the full report by Evergage and Researchscape International.

Julian Zeng is assistant managing editor at the American Marketing Association. He may be reached at jzeng@ama.org.