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Marketers Struggle to Deliver Omnichannel Personalization that Consumers Crave

While the ability to identify customers across marketing channels has improved, most marketers still struggle to deliver data-driven experiences across all touchpoints.

Only 3% of US companies said they had true omnichannel personalization, according to a March 2019 survey by customer data platform (CDP) Evergage. Just 26% said they had at least half of their marketing channels connected. At the other end of the spectrum, 21% didn’t have any of their marketing channels connected, up 6 percentage points from the prior year.

Omnichannel personalization makes customers feel like individuals, and most expect this type of marketing outreach. According to a January 2019 survey conducted by The Harris Poll, 63% of consumers in North America and the UK agreed that they expect personalization from brands and retailers. And 43% of respondents said that brands made them feel like an individual when they were reaching the same customer across all touchpoints.

The Harris Poll survey also revealed a gap in expectations. The majority of consumers (73%) felt that brands struggled with rising expectations for a personalized experience, compared with 43% of marketers that admitted to struggling in this area. Consumer frustration stemmed from brands’ sometimes subpar execution in omnichannel marketing, including receiving an offer for something they already bought (37%) and not being recognized as an existing customer (33%).

However, only 37% of consumers surveyed said that they would stop doing business with a brand for these reasons, indicating a window of opportunity for brands to improve their execution and narrow the expectations gap.

“Even in the era of privacy, consumers are clamoring for better use of their personal data to drive relevant and consistent omnichannel shopping experiences,” said Andrew Lipsman, principal analyst at eMarketer. “Because brands and retailers have built trust with consumers—after all, you’re logging in to the site and willing to fork over your credit card information—you want that trust reciprocated by delivering an experience that respects the user’s time, attention and money.”