Customer experience: digital marketing practices report
There are many different stages and components of marketing, but what customer demands change what is considered important from industry to industry, according to a new summary report.

Digital marketing solutions provider Lyris, Inc wrote the report, “Mind the Marketing Gap: Sizing up Marketer vs. Consumer Perceptions by Industry,” based on results of two surveys conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit in March 2013. The respondents -- 409 consumers and 257 marketers -- either worked for or were asked about six different industries: automotive, clothing, banking, travel, media and entertainment.  

Customers Want Personalization, but Also Privacy

Not all customers are the same; they have different likes and dislikes and marketing should reflect that. According to the report, while marketers still use traditional forms of marketing -- such as mass ad campaigns in magazines -- more companies are using digital channels such as social media and email. Marketers find these channels especially useful to meet customer demand due to their interactive and personalized nature.

Even though customers want some sort of personalization when it comes to advertising and marketing, they also see problems with this technique. Seventy five percent of consumers surveyed found that “attempts at personalization are superficial” and 63 percent said they receive too many personalized messages and they've started to look the same.

Due to these responses many marketers have tried to improve personalization using analytics and other data such as a person’s social or offline behaviour. Although this kind of in-depth, intrusive marketing carries risks as well. Many consumers feel that their privacy is at risk as they often don't know exactly what information is being collected or how it’s used.

Marketing Break Down by Industry

Automotive and Banking

In the auto industry more marketers want a well-rounded picture of their customers as they tend to target consumer segment analytics instead of individual reports. Among those surveyed, 50 percent said they focus on "expanding and diversifying" their customer base with its promotional offers. Popular ways to promote a business or these special offers are social media, blogs and personal referrals.

Despite everyone needing a bank, the organization's marketing tactics aren’t up to par with other industries. According to the report, most bank marketers are working on regaining a sense of trust with their customers as 42 percent of marketing executives said that customer retention was a top priority. One of the biggest obstacles for bank marketers -- at 44 percent of respondents -- is a lack of Big Data knowledge, which impede the move from general personalization strategies to more individualized offers.

Media and Clothing

For those in the media industry the goal isn't to just improve the customer experience, or build a larger customer base; 45 percent want to enter "new markets" and expand what the company can do since they face a lot of competition. Media marketers, despite not having the customer as one of their top goals, finds that customer insight is very important and that online channels need to be used to build brand awareness, sales and customer loyalty. Seventy four percent of those surveyed said that online channels were important while 38 percent mentioned that email was one of their preferred ways to communicate.

As for the retail sector, this is where most customers tend to find these personalized messages irrelevant or uninteresting. Sixty six percent of retail consumers found personalized messages to be superficial and 71 percent said they were sent too many of these messages for them to really be personal. Although, 75 percent  mentioned they look for coupons and other deals through "branded channels over third party-sites."

The report also notes that the retail industry has more of a traditional marketing approach where most companies still use offline channels, instead of combining these efforts with online channels. According to the report, these businesses don’t see online channels as an inaugural part of the purchasing process -- even though many of these brands rely on customer reviews and opinions, many of which come from websites.

Travel and Entertainment

The travel industry has traditionally been person-to-person with travel agents and making reservations in person or over the phone, but these methods are becoming a thing of the past. The report notes that the industry is trying to adapt to new technologies as 70 percent of those polled use online channels to improve sales with 37 percent of consumers say email is one of the most influential channels they use.

As for analytics, many travel organizations say that they concentrate on the individual customer data and 23 percent use this data for product research. Popular marketing objectives and strategies include engaging with influencers, connecting with customers across marketing touch points and making sure that customers turn into repeat customers.

The entertainment industry also focuses on a more customized form of marketing as entertainment executives want to make sure they don't lose any customers. Often customer’s geographic location forms the basis of personalized marketing. Twenty seven percent of those surveyed in this industry mentioned the importance of  an in-depth understanding of analytics, as well as communication through online channels -- even though 56 percent of brands invest only one tenth of their budgets in social media pages and only 66 percent do this for mobile.

From these results consumers have to realize that marketers are attempting to become more digitally savvy, but there isn't a universal marketing method. Marketers have different approaches and strategies, despite them all attempting some sort of personalization.