Brands Cannot Recognize Their Omnichannel Customers, DMA Study Finds

by @lauriesullivan, November 16, 2016

Just 9% of marketers participating in a white paper scheduled for release Thursday admit they can consistently recognize customers across media channels, although 72% say their organizations are pursuing cross-channel recognition strategies.

The white paper, From Theory to Practice: A Roadmap to ‘Omnichannel’ Activation, (available Thursday) published by the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) details the results of research conducted by Winterberry Group and sponsored by Acxiom, Criteo and SG360. The group interviewed marketers from about 120 organizations.

Many companies think they do a great job, but in reality they do not because they are marketing to devices not people. “If I could I would wave a magic wand tomorrow to move from a world where we organize everything by channels and products to one where we think very strategically about recognition as a function that stands on its own,” said Jonathan Margulies, managing director of the Winterberry Group.

Historically, brands took a multichannel approach to connect with consumers, but today it’s more about having a consistent brand message and conversation across channels.  

The three pillars include Recognition, the ability to recognize and understand customers and how they interact with the brand across channels and life cycles; Engagement, the ability to deliver the best customer experience; and Orchestration, the foundation and infrastructure to create a consistent view across the channels.

The challenge has been recognizing customers as they cross devices, said Neil O’Keefe, SVP of CRM and Member Engagement, DMA. “It’s about being relevant and recognizing customers across devices,” he said. “Everyone is doing a better job providing the same brand experience, but most still cannot recognize their customers when they cross devices.”

Very few companies have a handle on recognition, according to the white paper. Some 72% of those participating in the study identify audience recognition as a “moderate” or higher priority, but only 6.7% can identify their customer in one media at a time such as search, email or catalog. The problem comes when they try to identify the same consumer as they cross channels from search to email to catalog or mobile to in-store.

Slightly more than 37% of participants think they can coordinate the delivery of content across all the media channels.

When asked what would help to most advance their organization’s efforts to better recognize its addressable audiences across marketing and media, nearly 48% of marketers cited better aggregation and management of data. Better integration of existing marketing technology followed at 39.5%; better systems and processes to connect audience profiles came in at 38.4%; more first party data, 33.7%; and better and higher quality first-party data at 26.7% rounded out the top five.

The white paper, which is full of data and stats, also recognizes that nearly 91% of marketers participating in the study use email; 83%, online display for mobile and social; 92%, owned Web content for Web sites and social media pages; 79%, direct mail; and 75.5% for search including SEO and paid media comprise the top five medias.

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