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People and Process Pains: The Strong Roots of Marketers’ Sustained Customer Data Frustrations

By Rachel Smith | December 17, 2021 | 0 Comments

MarketingMarketing Data and Analytics

Earlier this year, Gartner’s 2021 Digital Marketing Survey found that 79% of digital marketing leaders believe they have the tools necessary to aggregate and segment customer data. However, despite having the technology, 63% of digital marketing leaders still agree that they face significant challenges in leveraging integrated customer data to drive digital marketing execution (see Survey Analysis: Customer Data Platform Use Is High, Yet Customer Data Management Challenges Persist subscription required). Gartner’s new Customer Data Survey reemphasizes that technology is not the only barrier to customer data management success. Rather, marketers face the following people and process pains:

Marketers face challenges in reaching organization-wide consensus on what it means to achieve the 360-degree customer view.

Organizations continue to pursue a resource intensive and very often elusive 360-degree view of the customer (C360). What will surely make this pursuit even more elusive? 49% of customer data leaders say that their organizations do not have an agreed-upon definition of the 360-degree view.

It’s no easy feat to come to a consensus on what it means to achieve the coveted C360 view, and at large organizations could require the inputs of a hundred different stakeholders to reach agreement. While a whopping 80% of surveyed leaders said they’re somewhere in the process of developing a C360 view, only 14% have achieved it – but those who have, are more likely have a definition (see Gartner’s Customer Data Survey: The 360-Degree View of the Customer Is More Myth Than Reality subscription required).

Adding to the cross-functional collaboration woes, many organizations report that their approach to developing use cases for the C360 view is managed separately by several functions or not explicitly managed. It is imperative that marketing leaders choosing to pursue a C360 view establish set use cases that deliver value for customers, ideally with input from other functions (e.g., CX, digital commerce, IT).

34% of organizations lack an established method to measure the impacts of customer data efforts on the organization.

Many organizations continue to integrate customer data without a method to measure the success of their efforts, meaning they may have reached a point of diminishing returns and simply have no way to know. Our survey finds that mature organizations instead leverage the paired metrics of ROI and CSAT– this combination of a business metric plus a customer metric provides a holistic measure of the impacts of customer data efforts.

Keep an eye out for soon-to-publish Gartner research detailing the approaches that high-maturity organizations take to manage their customer data. Use it to benchmark your organization’s progress and identify actions you can take to advance your organization’s customer data management capabilities in 2022.

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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