85% of marketers admit to double vision: majority of CMOs still can’t unify online and offline worlds

London, November 7th, 2017: The majority of marketers (85%) are still unable to tie together online and offline customer data, a new report has found. According to the CMO report by Conversant, this is compounded by the admission that a mere 16% of CMOs were ‘very confident’ that they could identify the same person over multiple devices online, running the risk of alienating customers.

“The word personalisation is often bandied about by marketers, but few are actually doing it right,” said Elliott Clayton, VP of Media UK, Conversant. “In fact, the large majority of marketers don’t have sufficient clarity to tell if it’s the same customer online and offline, or between their smartphone and laptop. Not only will this annoy customers, but it’s a waste of marketing spend – you could easily be advertising a product to a customer who just purchased it.”

According to the survey of more than 60 international CMOs, 61% aim to build close customer relationships, but many are failing to use technology to reach customers on a personal level. In fact, only 15% of marketers are confident that they really know their customers, and many aren’t taking basic steps to help correct this and build customer relationships.

“A big obstacle to delivering one-to-one marketing at scale is correctly measuring and tracking customer data,” continued Clayton. “To see clearly and reach customers on a personal level, marketers need to analyse their customers’ purchasing habits and behavioural data online, offline and across devices.”

The group of CMOs admitted that almost two-thirds (65%) of them do not track both online and offline sales and fewer than a quarter (24%) use real-time customer activity to tailor their digital marketing, relying instead on serving one-off messages. A third (34%) of marketers are also still measuring channel impact solely based on click data.

Clayton concluded, “With 17% of all retail spend occurring online[1], it’s essential to understand what’s going on offline. Data is such a vital asset for this, but only if it is used correctly – it’s tempting to rely on lazy metrics like clicks, but these simply don’t gauge return. And if you can’t identify your customers, nor identify incremental improvement from your marketing activity, then you don’t actually know who you’re communicating with and how these communications are affecting your business.”