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Marketers Bullish on Data in 2014

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A whopping 98 percent of marketers are maintaining or increasing their spend in 2014 — and that increased spending is mostly going to data and analytics and marketing automation, a new ExactTarget survey concluded.

The biggest surprise in the 2014 ExactTarget State of Marketing Report is that while 80 percent of marketers think mobile affects them, only 40 percent have a mobile app, Kyle Lacy, senior manager, global content marketing and research at ExactTarget, said in an interview. "Lots of people say they need it, but not that many do it," he said.

Out of their Hands

Marketers don't always get to make the decision to build an app. Furthermore, mobile is sometimes under the purview of one particular department in a company or may be a separate division altogether, Lacy said.

"The important thing marketers need to understand is that customer interactions need to be seamless."

Customer journeys often start on a mobile device and then transition to a tablet or laptop, and it is often a jarring experience instead of a smooth ride. How to fix it? The answer lies exactly in where marketers are planning to increase their spending in 2014. Data.

"We have lots of data, that's not the problem," Lacy said. "It's about using that data effectively and about personalizing experiences."

The report recommends marketers collect behavior based data to start communicating one-on-one with customers and to build that personalization out beyond just email.

Customer Journey Priorities

The ExactTarget marketing team pulled together responses from 2,651 marketers in an online survey in late October 2013. The survey found marketers have begun focusing more on driving engagement and revenue than on acquiring new customers. 58 percent of respondents said their biggest marketing challenge was acquiring new customers, and 65 percent said it was increasing subscriber engagement and revenue.

For this portion of the survey, marketers focused on what ExactTarget called lifecycle marketing. This is the process of acquiring, onboarding, engaging and retaining customers. A total of 66 percent of marketers used newsletters, 61 percent used promotional email and 54 percent used web opt-in campaigns in their lifecycle marketing efforts.

Beyond these strategies, most other types of campaigns were used much less. Loyalty campaigns, for example, have very high success rates, but were only being used by 36 percent of respondents. These kinds of campaigns shouldn't be left out, Lacy said, and marketers should always be testing out ways to drive their marketing results.

ExactTarget recommends marketers look at all four lifecycle stages to make sure there is some form of engagement with customers during each segment. Another recommended strategy is to begin using responsive design, particularly for those companies that see large amounts of emails opened on mobile devices.

There are indeed data focused projects, and marketers seem to understand this because 47 percent said their priority in 2014 was to drive increased conversion rates, while 29 percent said their priority was to collect, measure and use behavior based data, that all important tactic for creating those personalized experiences.

Title image by Max Griboedov (Shutterstock).

 
 
 
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