Most Marketers Say Personalization Tools Not Paying Off

Zach Brooke
Marketing News Weekly
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Key Takeaways
​​​What? A recent survey of B-to-C marketers measures how well martech tools are personalizing consumers.

So what? Almost 8 in 10 (78%) respondents say they need additional tech tools to hit personalization targets. Fifty-nine percent say they are not satisfied with their personalization technologies, and 50% say their tools do not provide the capabilities they require.

Now what? Evaluate your organization's commitment to personalization and determine if results are lining up with goals. 

June 7, 2016

Most personalization efforts help metrics, but not at rates deemed significant


A recent survey of B-to-C marketers conducted by global technology hub CEB is revealing a lot about how well marcom and martech tools are at personalizing consumers across several organizations. 

Known as behavioral marketing, personalization is defined by the survey as “the use of individual behavioral data to target and/or tailor marketing communications based on an individual’s likely needs at a point in time.”

The survey closed on June 1 and collected responses from more than 100 respondents working in 13 industries across North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. Final results are still being analyzed, but researchers have already released some data based on the preliminary results.  

Highlights include:

On average, companies report owning or using five personalization technologies. Large companies with revenues in excess of $1 billion typically have six. The top three martech tools used by respondents include web analytics software (71%), CRM software (64%) and content management systems 56%. All other tools were used by less than half of all respondents.  




Almost 8 in 10 (78%) respondents say they need additional tech tools to hit personalization targets. Fifty-nine percent say they are not satisfied with their personalization technologies, and 50% say their tools do not provide the capabilities they require. Less than one-third of respondents have a technology roadmap in place.

Only 14% of respondents report having a mature level of personalization that encompasses integrating personalization among multiple channels. One-third of respondents say they are not personalizing marcoms at this time.  




More than half all respondents (56%) report spending between 1% and 10% of their budget on marcom personalization. Six percent of those surveyed say they don’t spend anything on marcom personalization, while three percent spend between 41% and 50% of their budget on marcom personalization efforts.

More than half (52%) of respondents report increasing marketing budgets to fund personalization, but only 26% of all respondents say return on investment has been significant to date. Nearly three-quarters (74%) indicate returns have been marginal so far. Most respondents report experiencing increases between 10% and 20% across a range of metrics, including e-mail click-through rates, impression click-through rates, consumer repurchase/renewal rates and net promoter scores, as a result of their personalization efforts.




The average percentage of personalized digital marcoms per respondent was 12% of total volume. When asked what percentage of personalized marcoms marketers hope to personalize in the near future, that figure increased nearly fivefold, to 56%.


Seventy-six percent of marketers report collecting demographic data on consumers, the highest of all data categories. The lowest data category relates to offline consumer behavior, which is collected by just 22% of respondents. Forty-seven percent of marketers say their organization consistently uses demographic data to personalize, surpassed only by purchase history (49%). Thirty-four percent of respondents do not pay for data collected by external sources, the largest response group of all survey categories.




Using outside data, the survey makers report the average brand spends 11% of its budget on martech. Fourteen percent of survey respondents fell into this range. Sixty-percent of those surveyed report spending less than that, while 26% of respondents spend a higher proportion of their budget on martech. 



Author Bio:

https://auth.ama.org/publishingimages/zack_bio.jpg
Zach Brooke
Zach Brooke is a staff writer at the American Marketing Association. He can be reached zbrooke@ama.org
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