Poor data integration sabotages cross-channel campaigns and few companies have made the necessary steps in data collection and measurement to gain a common view of consumers within their organization, per a Forrester Consulting study commissioned by IgnitionOne. No doubt the subject -- a topic of conversation at Advertising Week -- will continue through the holidays and into 2016.

While 95% report they have formed a collaborative relationship with IT counterparts, most fail because they lack an integrated view of customer data, the study reveals.

Only 27% have unified measurement capabilities to understand the complete experience across channels and devices. Less than 30% track customers across touchpoints using cookies. The lack of insight into customer behavior across channels affects two-thirds of marketers participating in the study.

Forrester analyzed findings from the study, Orchestrating The Cross-Channel Experience -- determining the necessities to implement cross-channel campaigns. The channels range from display, search, email, and social media to broadcast media, point of sale, direct mail, and customer service help desk analysts, testing the hypothesis that marketers should follow consumers through their life cycle, from awareness to acquisition, conversion, sales, and retention by centralizing data, rather than raw numbers stuck in silos.

It's not surprising that the findings suggest proper cross-channel campaigns correlate to high revenue growth. Marketers from companies that have experienced 10% or more high revenue growth in FY2014 were more likely to execute cross-channel initiatives today using holistic measurement key performance indicators. They also reported greater use of marketing tools than marketers from firms with lower growth.

Some 69% of marketers do not capture customer data from all relevant interaction points to ensure a unified view of the customer. While 68% have developed predictive analytics capabilities to support decision, offer, and interaction management, and 68% also say marketing performance data is centrally managed yet not by discrete channel.

About 74% of marketers feel their organizations are either successfully or very successfully executing cross-channel marketing campaigns, but Forrester found a contradiction in their ability to show a clear vision on the foundational pieces such as data, measurement, and culture.

Disparate data management prohibits cross-channel execution, with 71% of marketers unable to collect and match cookies to recognize customers and understand their interactions across their digital journeys. Marketers who fail to collect requisite data or eliminate channel-specific data silos will struggle to deliver value exchanges at the customer’s moment of need, per the study.

While C-level and marketing executives realize their company must move toward cross-channel strategies, 67% still do not feel employees understand how their tasks tie to larger company strategies.

Forrester asserts that data and measurement capabilities must become centrally managed. Reporting on campaigns is no longer enough. Systems that enable real-time performance measurement are required to give marketers the flexibility to meet customer needs in the moment. And C-level executives need to assure marketing and IT departments collaborate to execute on the best customer experience. One no longer works without the other.


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