Study Finds That Marketers View Unstructured Data as the Next Generation of CX

A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Reputation, the global leader in reputation experience management (RXM), found that the majority of marketing and consumer experience (CX) professionals consider customer feedback and unstructured data key to building impactful brand experiences, but many are focused on collecting large amounts of data versus high quality data.

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Consisting of ad-hoc customer comments such as informal social media posts, unstructured feedback is typically qualitative in nature and provides a valuable source of real-time insight. As more consumers interact with brands across various digital touch points, such as chat and social media, it is gaining in prominence. The study shows that while 84% of decision-makers see the value in unstructured data and consumer feedback, only 30% of data collected is unstructured, leaving behind a trove of direct consumer insights that could fuel business growth.

The study included insights from 152 digital marketing or customer experience decision-makers in the US It found that 70% of these decision-makers believe unstructured data is important in meeting CX goals, but they are struggling to collect that data. They are collecting customer feedback across an average of six touchpoints and storing across approximately 5.5 tools, but 42% struggle to make sense of customer feedback and data that they collect. Additionally, nearly 40% of decision-makers feel that their organizations are too focused on quantitative data, leaving a trove of qualitative data-based insights on the table.

“We believe that data is only as powerful as the actions you take from it, and this study shows that marketing and CX leaders typical struggle to make sense of the it, especially unstructured data, or data in the wild – the unadulterated reflection of online reputation found in social media comments, reviews or survey responses,” says Joe Fuca, Reputation CEO. “This particular type of data is extremely valuable to businesses, as it serves as the key to unlocking richer insights. However, decision-makers need to find a way to harness it effectively, to drive business growth and maintain online reputation.”

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The study confirmed that unstructured data is power, with nearly two thirds of decision-makers seeing it as the key to richer insights. It also found that unstructured data leads to:

  • Deriving better insights in customer engagement
  • Enabling employees to better understand customers
  • Improving operations efficiency based on feedback
  • Delivering better business value

To harness the value of unstructured data, businesses need to aggregate it with technology. However, many marketers lack the tools to do this. Forrester found that only 32% of decision-makers currently use a unified data analytics tool or aggregate these disparate data sources.

This Opportunity Snapshot was commissioned by Reputation. To create this profile, Forrester Consulting supplemented this research with custom survey questions asked of 152 digital marketing or customer experience decision-makers in the US. The custom survey began and was completed in February 2021.

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