Only 14% of organizations have achieved a 360-degree view of the customer, according to Gartner, Inc. However, 82% of respondents said they still aspire to attain this goal in a Gartner survey of 402 marketing, IT and other enterprise leaders responsible for customer data initiatives from May through July 2021.
For respondents who achieved a 360-degree view of their customer, customer data platforms (CDPs) were the most frequently cited technology used to house it, displacing customer relationship management (CRM) platforms. However, respondents still working toward a 360-view were more likely to identify CRM as their preferred platform. Acquiring a CDP was not by itself sufficient, since three times as many respondents had adopted a CDP as had actually achieved a 360-degree view of their customer.
“Marketing teams have been engaged in a data arms race over the past decade, attempting to use technology to collect every conceivable data point on customers with the assumption that more data is better,” said Benjamin Bloom, vice president analyst in the Gartner Marketing practice.
Gartner’s survey found that 60% of respondents believe they need every data point possible to achieve a 360-degree view of their customer, but nearly 50% of respondents said they did not achieve alignment on what constitutes a 360-degree view, complicating any technology acquisition.
“When organizations don’t have consensus on a 360-degree view of the customer, they risk investing in the wrong tools,” Bloom said. “Beyond technology, they risk collecting bad data, incorrect data, or, worse, potentially risky data that may run afoul of privacy expectations and evolving government regulations.”
Acquiring and leveraging customer data continues to be enticing to business leaders, as consumer behaviors are forced to change via adoption of channels such as digital commerce. However, respondents noted that exhaustive data collection isn’t worth the effort. In fact, 72% of respondents who believe they need every data point to be successful also believe that the more data they collect, the less benefit they see.
“The two major hurdles that organizations face when attempting to achieve a 360-degree view of the customer are poor customer data quality and the lack of consensus on what exactly a 360-degree customer view is,” said Lizzy Foo Kune, vice president analyst in the Gartner Marketing practice. “Digital marketing leaders hope that this view of the customer will unify cross-functional data in their organizations to drive personalization and retention. However, few are actually successful.”
Organizations that have achieved a 360-degree view of their customer share some notable hallmarks that all companies should keep in mind. These include:
Create a consensus on what a 360-degree view means
Overcome data quality issues
Implement a cross-functional governance structure for customer data
The survey also revealed that those who had achieved a 360-degree view were more likely to say they were motivated to improve product features. This suggests that successful organizations invest in product innovation that can create meaningful customer value in exchange for data collection. Successful organizations are also more likely to be using artificial intelligence and machine learning to support achievement of business objectives. These technologies may support novel experiences for customers and efficiency gains for the enterprise.
Additional information is available to Gartner for Marketers clients in the report: Gartner’s Customer Data Survey: The 360-Degree View of the Customer Is More Myth Than Reality.
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