Marketers Overcome Organizational Hurdles to Personalization and Now Cite Data Quality as Number One Challenge
Monetate, the worldwide leader in personalization, announced the availability of the second annual Personalization Development Study, a report that provides insight into the challenges, benefits, and best practices of personalization. The 2017 report, developed through a partnership with WBR Insights and based on input from more than 500 marketers in North America and the UK, found that a majority of those who experienced profitability increases have a documented personalization strategy in place. This builds on the findings of Monetate’s first annual benchmark report, which drew parallels between ROI gains and personalization efforts.
Personalization is defined in this report as the ability to interact with each individual, at any moment, across touch points based on everything known about them, and includes testing, segmentation, and individualization approaches. While marketers know that personalization increases loyalty, drives higher conversion rates, and grows revenue, they still face challenges implementing it.
Personalization Grows Up
To define a clear roadmap for getting the most out of personalization, Monetate analyzed the practices of individuals working in financial services, travel and hospitality, and retail. When asked about obstacles that marketers face in moving beyond segmentation to individualization, respondents selected data quality as their number one constraint – a stark contrast from last year’s report, which ranked data quality as the sixth largest obstacle. Organizational restraints, which was last year’s number one concern, slipped to one of the least significant challenges this year, signifying a maturation of personalization efforts driven by an increase in dedicated personalization resources.
Despite data quality challenges, organizations are thinking more critically about their personalization strategies. The results of this year’s report showed a significant increase in the number of organizations that have a documented personalization strategy or are working on one compared to 2016 – a sign that personalization efforts are becoming a larger priority for businesses. Additionally, 13 percent of North American respondents rated themselves as advanced in the implementation of personalization, which is double last year’s six percent.
Personalization and Profitability
For the second year in a row, Monetate found a direct link between profitability and a documented personalization strategy.
According to the data, more than 70 percent of those who experienced profitability increases in the last 12 months have a documented personalization strategy, compared to fewer than 20 percent for those with decreased profitability.
In addition to a documented strategy, Monetate’s analysis found organizations that exceeded revenue goals have several shared qualities, including:
- Broad spectrum of resources: Personalization is a team effort, and many surveyed noted their personalization strategy was managed across disciplines, including marketing, ecommerce and IT; nearly all (92 percent) of respondents with a documented plan or who are working on a documented plan have at least one resource dedicated to personalization (compared to 48 percent last year)
- Specific financial incentives: More than 70 percent of organizations that exceeded revenue goals have specific financial incentives in place related to achieving personalization goals
- Dedicated – and growing – budget: 80 percent of those who exceeded revenue goals have a dedicated budget for personalization; additionally, nearly three quarters of all respondents (73 percent) projected an increase in personalization dollars in 2018
Regional and Industry-Specific Findings
The study also revealed important insight related to regional implementation and personalization maturity, showing that North American marketers have accelerated adoption of personalization compared to their UK counterparts. In fact, North American-based brands are twice as likely as UK-based brands to be advanced in their personalization journey. Additionally, nearly two-thirds of North American marketers are already investing or plan to invest in machine learning technology in the next six months, compared to 41 percent of respondents in the U.K.
The report also explored the differences in personalization utilization in financial services, travel and hospitality, and retail industries. Travel and hospitality respondents reported receiving the highest return on their personalization investment, with 18 percent of respondents seeing 3x their investment (compared to 13 percent for retail and only 8 percent for financial services). In general, financial services self-report as the least mature in personalization implementation, with only six percent of respondents noting their organization has an advanced personalization strategy in place.
“We’re excited to see how far organizations have come with personalization over the last year. It’s clear from the data that companies are putting more resources to personalization and doing away with organizational restraints, resulting in more businesses in financial services, travel and hospitality, and retail being on the path toward personalization success. That said, there’s still plenty of room for growth in maturity and this report shows there is a clear roadmap for organizations to tap into the business impact of personalization,” said Maribeth Ross, senior vice president of marketing at Monetate.
Monetate, the global leader in personalization software for consumer-facing brands, enables marketers to create experiences with improved relevance for every customer, increasing their engagement and boosting business outcomes.
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