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Gartner Research: Exploding Myths of Holistic Customer Data and Integration Challenges

Almost half of the most advanced CDP users have significant challenges with data integration, Gartner’s Matt Wakeman told an audience at Marketing Symposium. He described as “wishful thinking” the sentiment that having a Customer Data Platform (CDP) would solve all data integration problems. This was the week that Gartner analysts set about exploding some very familiar ideas about customer data collection and management. Their research findings undermined some of marketing’s most fondly held beliefs, namely that there’s value in having a holistic view of the customer, more customer data is better, the more channels for data collection the better, a seamless customer experience will lead to revenue growth, and the more customer data is integrated, the better markting teams will be placed to prove ROI. Gartner’s research found that 72% of marketers who believe they need every customer data point to be successful, also report that the more data they collect, the less benefit they see. The cost of integrating data across channels rises exponentially as channels are added and fully integrating 20 channels requires 200 integrations. Moreover, attempting to achieve a 360-degree view of the customer can lead to disastrous outcomes and enormous technical, regulatory and privacy issues. From Matt Wakeman’s session, Gartner found that marketers with the most integrations between data sources have about as much trouble proving marketing’s value as those with no integrations whatsoever. Additionally, 45% of marketing teams using CDPs both for data collection and analysis and activation still have data integration problems. This is because organizations have a lot of technology implementations over time, and they don’t get retired, they just keep adding on. John Nash, chief marketing and strategy officer for leading CDP Redpoint Global, believes that having a golden record - a continually evolving holistic view of the customer - is essential for creating compelling moments. Gartner advocated a focus on “catalytic marketing,” defined as creating moments that don’t just engage but actually change a customer. Jessica Shapiro, CMO at data collaboration platform Liveramp, also believes that a 360-degree view is essential for delivering personalised, omnichannel, real-time experiences. Gartner offered alternative ways forward for marketing organisations prepared to give up on “wishful thinking”. They recommended looking at ways to partner to reduce the burden of relying on first-party data, collecting data through fewer channels and thinking carefully about what is worth collecting and considering innovative strategies that guide customers to identify their priorities. They also suggested identifying narrow customer data use cases, using customer-directed engagement models to encourage customers to offer up data and using “digital twins”, created by synthesizing data from “real” customers and used to predict segmentation and behavior. Ultimately, Gartner concluded that organisations should think big but start small and move and iterate and learn fast. Having the right capabilities can help you get the clarity you need to make the right connections, while using your data more effectively in a number of ways and prioritising your goals effectively.

Originally reported by Martech:
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