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Six challenges standing in the way of effective personalization

  • Posted on February 13, 2020
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes
personalization challenges

If you’ve been working in marketing or customer experience for any length of time, you’ll know there’s a widely acknowledged rule we all try to follow:

“Thou shalt be data-driven.”

Yet, despite our staunch dedication to data, as marketers we’re still struggling to make the most of its potential.

Our own research backs this up. Over 80% of decision-makers struggle to fully harness data and insights. One of the chief culprits here is the struggle to modernize legacy systems and processes, cited by 35% of organizations.

Love thy data
We’re continually being told to cherish data, to use it to personalize our marketing messages and to feed the marketing machine’s appetite for insights. And that’s perfectly correct – no self-respecting marketing team today should be ignoring the data and insights available to them.

The theory sounds great. The reality? It’s far from straightforward. We live and work in a landscape that has more touchpoints and generates more noise than ever before. We need to digitally transform and connect the entire customer journey, from end-to-end. No stone can remain unturned.

Reaching the customer experience (CX) promised land is easier said than done.

What stands in the way?
Ahead of my session at B2B Marketing’s Get Stacked event taking place in London on 19th March, I wanted to give you a teaser of what I’ll be covering. Below, I’ve looked at six key challenges across the CX landscape. To find out exactly how they can be overcome, naturally you’ll need to head down to 155 Bishopsgate to hear my session!

But, for now, here are six pitfalls that might be preventing you and your peers from introducing powerful personalized experiences.

1. The unfair advantage: Disruptors versus established brands
Most companies older than 10-15 years are facing similar digital transformation problems. Siloed data, little if any collaboration, slow decision making and more. It’s no coincidence that the phrase ‘disruptive innovation’ came to prominence as digital technology began to upset the business apple cart.

Young, digitally native businesses are rocking the boat and shifting the status quo with fresh processes, platforms and approaches. Meanwhile, brands stuck with rigid, sluggish legacy tech can only watch on enviously…

2. Outdated tech means settling for second best
Rather than making use of purpose-built martech platforms that are designed for niche marketing and CX tasks, the prevalence of legacy technology is creating a ‘hack’ culture – defined by compromise and ‘make-do-and-mend’ instead of excellence or ‘knock it out the park’.

You’re often left with no choice but to create sub-par experiences that barely deliver for customers. In fact, sometimes they don’t work at all. Nearly 9 out of 10 decision makers agree that they need to add innovation to their business systems to kickstart agility and introduce continual improvement.

3. New channels appearing all the time
Ah, the good old days. All you had to worry about were a few trade ads, telemarketing and direct mail. I’m being a bit droll here, of course. But you get my point – today, digital disruption has created new channels that customers experience daily in their personal lives. Brands are under pressure to keep pace with the speed of change to stay relevant. But doing that – let alone managing to thrive and introduce personalized experiences – is a huge, evolving challenge for marketers.

4. A lack of client insight
The prospect of floods of behavioral and transactional data at our fingertips sounded like a dream scenario at one point in the not-too-distant past. But the reality today is we’re drowning in a data deluge. And that picture is further complicated by the complexity of customers and their procurement teams. We don’t know what datapoints to look at first nor how to reveal the insights that really matter. How can we find the data we need to deliver a potent, personalized CX?

5. Insufficient organizational maturity
Misaligned strategies and processes, a lack of talent, funding directed towards the wrong places, and an approach to digital that’s operationally (rather than customer-outcome) driven. You’ve almost certainly encountered at least a few of these headaches, so you’re probably aware of the consequences. But how do we solve what’s ultimately an organization-wide challenge?

6. Inadequate cross-business collaboration
Business depends on communication and collaboration. You’re unlikely to find many firms that aren’t constantly seeking to improve their collaboration capabilities. Think sales and marketing, marketing and IT, sales and service. If they’re not all on the same page and working with the same customer insights, they’ll ultimately deliver an inconsistent CX.

The trouble is, getting two (or more) departments to work together can sometimes be like herding cats – cats that live on entirely separate continents and work in different offices. What’s holding you back? Often, it’s ingrained silos, a lack of ownership and a dearth of empowerment that would enable you to bring business units together and drive a better, more tailored CX.

Overcome these obstacles – get started at Get Stacked
My session at Get Stacked 2020 starts at 12pm, as part of the Innovation Stream. I’ll be discussing these challenges, sharing some real-life client examples and highlighting some winning personalization strategies and tactics that can deliver tangible, long-term benefits. I hope to see you there. But if you can’t make it, head to our digital marketing solutions content to find out more about how we can help you unlock new personalization possibilities.

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