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2023 Gartner Multichannel Marketing Survey: The Rising Stakes of Customer Data, Privacy, and Personalization

By Ant Duffin | March 21, 2023 | 0 Comments

Customer Acquisition and RetentionCustomer ExperienceCustomer Understanding and Marketing ExecutionDigital Marketing Strategy and ExecutionMarketing Data and AnalyticsMarketing Technology and Emerging Trends

More key findings from Gartner’s 2023 Multichannel Marketing survey are available to our clients on The survey sought critical insights from nearly 400 CMOs and digital marketing leaders across North America, the UK, Germany, France, and the Nordic region. 

This blog post explores the key findings related to first-party customer data and the implications for privacy and personalization.



First-party customer data and privacy stakes have never been higher for brands, and they are only going to increase –  this is because the importance and business value delivered from first-party customer data continues to grow. 

Strengthen Customer Data Policies

First-party customer data has become a tangible and valuable asset for brands. Thus, Eighty-five percent of survey respondents have established formal policies to manage customer data and privacy. There are three major factors driving this:

  1. Customers now care more about what data brands have on them and how it’s used
  2. Regulation is growing, evolving, and becoming more stringent with non-compliance resulting in hefty fines for brands
  3. Brands need to protect this valuable business asset to ensure they can continue to leverage it for insight and revenue generation

Marketing leaders must continue strengthening and evolving customer data management governance and policies. They must also ensure that customer data regulation is on the radar of legal teams so that associated risks are constantly managed and mitigated. 

Establish Privacy-Centric Customer Value Exchange

Capturing first-party customer data is getting tougher for brands. Customers are increasingly reluctant to hand over their data and are looking for brands to provide something in return for it. In short, they are looking for a clear value exchange – they are asking “what’s in it for me?”. 

Only thirty-six percent of respondents strongly agree  that they prioritize first-party data to create immediate value for their customers (47% somewhat agree). This is an unexpected finding, as brands should leverage customer data capture to drive personalized customer experience as a part of the customer/brand value exchange. 

Brands, however, do recognize the need to provide value exchange beyond personalized experiences, and 78% of respondents agree that they empower customers to manage their own data today. 

Marketing leaders must accelerate time to value and from collected first-party customer data and enable customer data management empowerment by creating frictionless customer experiences to: 

  • Capture data 
  • Manage preferences 
  • Provide visibility of personal data held

Invest in First-Party Data to Fuel Personalization

Once there are governance structures and value exchange experiences in place, personalizing experiences becomes a powerful lever for improving customer engagement and commercial outcomes. First-party customer data, along with content is the fuel to supercharge personalized customer experiences. 

One-to-one personalization is often seen as the holy grail for brands – has been hard to achieve in the past because of the myriad of complex capabilities required to deliver it. Surprisingly, the survey revealed a significant shift in this paradigm with respondents claiming that an average of 42% of messages are being personalized on a one-to-one basis.

The survey also revealed that 54% of respondents that strongly prioritize first-party customer data exceed growth expectations through customer retention activities over those who don’t (35%). 

Marketing leaders should analyze current retention marketing performance to identify growth and improvement opportunities. Develop retention marketing use cases to identify where first-party customer data and personalization can be used to deliver identified opportunities. Secure investment to implement the top 1-3 opportunities identified.

The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

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