Over 70 Percent of Marketers Fail to Target Consumers With Behavioral Data [Study]

  |  March 27, 2014   |  Comments

A recent study conducted by Razorfish and Adobe reveals that the majority of marketers lack the ability to tackle behavioral data.

Although more and more companies have realized the importance of using data to target consumers and deliver real-time experiences today, 76 percent of marketers have failed to use behavioral data in segmentation analysis and targeting execution, according to The State of Always-On Marketing Study.

The study was conducted by Razorfish, a global interactive marketing and technology company, in collaboration with Adobe. In the study, Razorfish defines Always-On Marketing (AOM) as data-driven and content-led experiences that are delivered across channels and devices in real time. It reveals that very few businesses are capable of using critical behavior data to deliver AOM, as 76 percent of marketers surveyed are unable to convert behavioral data into segmentation analysis and targeting execution. And of the 24 percent who are using behavioral data, less than 20 percent have the technology, creative execution, and integrated data to deliver a targeted experience to a recognized customer across channels.

"There's no doubt that digital marketers have access to behavioral data, and there's been considerable talk and investment these last few years on 'big data,' and an executive focus on data and analytics. But many businesses are struggling to translate this data with the right technology and skills into better data-led customer-facing experiences," says Mark Taylor, vice president of analytics at Razorfish, and author of the study. "It's just not good enough to invest in only the technology or data analytics skills. You need your digital marketing ecosystem working together."

Companies who are using behavioral data to deliver real-time experiences usually achieve better return on investment (ROI). Best-practice companies build up a digital marketing ecosystem through a well-organized set of technology-enabled activities across their teams, according to Taylor. "They have processes that take full advantage of their behavioral data. They create unified views of their customers, then convert these into actionable rules for experiences in each moment across channels, with the creative assets pulling dynamically in each millisecond," he tells ClickZ.

The lack of ability to tackle behavioral data aside, the study shows a wide gap between companies' AOM perception and their actual ability. More than half of all executives surveyed believe that they are strong at targeting experiences to segmented groups. However, only 38 percent of those interviewed are capable of targeting a new customer versus a returning customer. In addition, a mere 13 percent of them are actually delivering segmented experiences and measuring the results. Even those who believe they have strong targeting capabilities may not be able to quantify that perceived value, the study says.


Razorfish and Adobe also took a look at different regions. Two-thirds of senior executives in the U.S. who believe they are capable of delivering targeted experiences actually have the ability to do so, followed by the U.K. (53 percent) and Canada (50 percent). By contrast, there are significant disconnections in Germany (43 percent) and France (36 percent).

There are other findings in the study, including:

  • In general, large companies with decent annual revenues take leadership in data-driven marketing.
  • Companies in both the retail and consumer packaged goods, as well as telecom, media, and entertainment industries, are more likely to implement digital technology to support data-driven marketing than other industry verticals.

The study also includes advice to marketers:

  • Marketers who have not yet taken any AOM actions should take tangible steps now to determine where they are, and benchmark performance against others. They also need to come up with a blueprint regarding how to tie technology and marketing activities together.
  • Marketers who just started implementing, testing, and making concerted efforts to organize data-driven marketing should reassess their approaches and create an ecosystem to implement AOM with a right framework.
  • Marketers who have already been implementing and optimizing should capitalize on others' lack of ability to compete for the same Always-On customers.

To complete the study, Razorfish and Adobe surveyed 685 C-level marketing, technology, and business executives.

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Yuyu Chen

Yuyu Chen is a junior reporter at ClickZ. Her work has appeared in Local East Village, New York Daily News and Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce website. Yuyu received her M.A. in Business and Economic Reporting from New York University in May, 2013.

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