There’s never been a better or more challenging time to be a marketer. The proliferation of devices and channels provides us with more opportunities to reach and engage with our customers than ever before – yet it has also caused customer expectations to rise. People want personalised and relevant experiences, delivered to them in real time, wherever and whenever.
Now more than ever, businesses need to catch up with the reality of how customers are engaging across channels, and increasingly with the expectation that the experience be seamless through an integrated approach. Despite knowing what we need to do, too few of us are actually doing it.
More than half of the marketers surveyed in The Multichannel Reality report said their companies don’t use integrated marketing technology. They still have separate, non-connected technologies managing data for different channels. These non-integrated tech platforms are one of the top three obstacles to integrated marketing, along with lack of budget and organizational structure.
The Multichannel Reality report by Econsultancy and Adobe is part of the Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing survey of around 2,000 digital marketers and ecommerce professionals across the globe carried out in June and July 2015. Here are some of the findings from respondents based in Asia Pacific.
Is Integration at a standstill?
Regional comparison: Which of the following best described how you carry out marketing activities?
Only 14% of APAC companies fully integrate their campaigns across all channels. Although this is on par with European companies, it is far behind North American companies who appear to have an edge in terms of their current technologies and planning. They are more than twice as likely as their peers in Europe and APAC to be taking an integrated approach to all marketing.
In the context of integrated marketing, how would you describe your organisation’s capabilities in the following areas?
Multichannel marketing is much more than simply launching campaigns that share content across more than one channel. Within the discipline are multiple capabilities, from understanding how people choose channels and travel between them, to allocating resources based on their impact. The capabilities outlined in Figure 2 map to some of the most vital demands of multichannel marketing.
Achieving a single customer view (SCV) is the first step for many, but is also among the most difficult challenges faced by modern marketers. In addition, real-time marketing is going to become more important in the next couple of years as consumers demand greater personalisation.
However, delivering on this expectation requires both the integration necessary for the single customer view and a deep understanding of the customer journey.
Technology is both the great enabler and biggest barrier
Disparate datasets within companies across teams, channels and technologies have been a key challenge for marketers to overcome during the past few years. Technology giants have addressed the challenge by providing all-in-one marketing clouds for companies to plug into, but for those that can afford these solutions, there remains the mammoth task of migrating onto the new platform, collating and cleansing old and new data.
Which of the following statements best describes your marketing technology in terms of its ability to manage data across multiple channels?
Although many believe in the benefits of a single-cloud based technology solution, very few companies are making the transition. As seen in Figure 3 only 6% of Asia Pacific respondents have a single platform that manages data across multiple channels. The reasons for the lack of progress within data management could be numerous.
Price, internal buy-in and skills, legacy technologies and data formats could all pose insurmountable challenges for companies with all the best multichannel data management intentions.
Please rank the top three obstacles to consistently integrated marketing activities.
Figure 4 shows the range of challenges facing those striving for more integrated marketing activities in descending order of significance. Non-integrated tech platforms is seen as the most significant barrier to integration among APAC companies, selected as top-three obstacle by more than half of the survey respondents (61%).
However lack of budget is selected as the single biggest problem by 21% of respondents and is likely to be the greatest barrier. Encouragingly, lack of marketing skills and senior level buy-in is the lowest-ranked barrier, selected by only a quarter of respondents. It seems that teams are well equipped and senior managers appreciate the important of a joined-up marketing approach. Multichannel marketing is becoming marketing.
Businesses need to catch up with the reality of how consumers are engaging across channels and apply an integrated marketing strategy to their campaigns. This is obviously easier said than done but if businesses don’t start taking the steps to provide a seamless and personalised experience to their customers soon; they will soon fall behind their competitors.
Get all the findings from the Multichannel Reality report by downloading it here .