Yesmail and Gleanster Study: 80 Percent of Brands Don’t Know Their Customers

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CHICAGO – August 5, 2013 – A new study released today by Yesmail Interactive, in conjunction with Gleanster, a leading analyst firm, finds that 80 percent of consumer-facing companies don’t understand their customers beyond basic demographics and purchase history.

The report, "Customer Lifecycle Engagement: Imperatives for Midsize-to-Large Companies," reveals that marketers think they know their customers well, but they lack the deep data insights that would enable them to send personalized, relevant campaigns. Gleanster surveyed 100 senior-level marketers with online and offline sales models to gauge the state of customer engagement among companies with $10 million to more than $1 billion in revenue.

The research shows that mid-size and large B2C companies are struggling to achieve customer intimacy, and many marketers lack the data and technology they need for more effective segmentation.

"Companies need access to more robust sources of data and technology that allows them to communicate via multiple channels and send meaningful, relevant message streams," Michael Fisher, President, Yesmail Interactive said. "The battle for market share now rests on building customer relationships, not simply a promotional coupon approach. Brands that don't get to know their customers intimately and drive the value of the relationship won’t survive.  If brands are not relevant at scale, their customers will find another brand that is."

Shift toward relationship customer data

According to the survey, marketers lack understanding when it comes to relationship-oriented customer data. Yet 88 percent of respondents still consider their customer engagement strategies – including knowing the optimal message, channel and time to send to each customer – to be effective. This suggests that marketers are limited by what they perceive to be successful legacy tactics.

Among the report’s key findings:

  • When it comes to transactional data, 53 percent of marketers say they have an excellent understanding of customers’ purchase history, followed by 42 percent for basic demographic information such as gender and age.
  • Fewer marketers have an excellent understanding of relationship data, including customers’ level of participation in social media (20 percent), channel preference (21 percent) and household composition (27 percent).
  • The top two sources of customer data used for segmentation are transactional: CRM data (67 percent) and point-of-sale data (56 percent).
  • Less than half of marketers use data from sources that provide better targeting, including web browsing history and online behavior (41 percent), social data (38 percent), and third-party behavioral and attitudinal data (36 percent).
  • While 40 percent of marketers use customer transactions such as purchases to trigger automated campaigns, only 21 percent use life-stage triggers such as birthdays or having a baby.

Eighty-six percent of the marketers surveyed said they could do a better job with segmentation if they had better customer data. When it comes to the top challenges that stand in the way of personalized customer communications, the respondents blamed limitations in marketing tools (42 percent), fragmented marketing systems (34 percent) and poor data quality (34 percent).

"Brands must build one-on-one relationships with their customers; but marketers don’t know how to get there," said Ian Michiels, Principal & Managing Director, Gleanster. “Companies need to start thinking in terms of the customer lifecycle and relying more on the data and insight that informs and develops the applicable lifecycle strategy.  This insight lets companies truly know their customers based on relationship customer data rather than just transactional data.”

To download the full report, please visit the Yesmail Interactive website.

About Gleanster

Gleanster is a new breed of market research and advisory services firm. Its benchmark research and Deep Dive analyst reports highlight the experiences of top performing organizations; why they invest in technology, how they overcome challenges, and how they maximize the value of their investments. Gleanster also aggregates thought leadership in the form of white papers and research reports from third-party sources, including solution providers — who, for their part, can create and maintain their own vendor and solution showcases on Gleanster to help further educate the marketplace. For more information, please visit http://www.gleanster.com.

About Yesmail Interactive
We power intelligent customer interactions.  We give you the insights to recognize and understand your customer to deliver contextually relevant digital communications- while respecting their preferences and privacy.  We help marketers evolve their customer relationships through intelligent interactions via technology, insights and services in a near real-time multichannel environment.  We help you compete in the age of the customer. For more information, visit www.yesmail.com.

About Infogroup

Infogroup’s 1,900 employees enable clients – from local businesses to the Fortune 100 – to increase sales and customer loyalty by leveraging our proprietary Data Axle™ of contextually relevant real-time information on more than 235 million individuals and 24 million businesses to deliver the complete spectrum of value added data and innovative targeted marketing solutions. For more information, visit: www.infogroup.com.