Only 2% of brands are realising the full potential of data-driven marketing strategies, despite significant cost and revenue benefits

New research from BCG and Google ranks companies on a scale of data-driven marketing maturity, highlighting how a select few are achieving best practice and what others can do to improve

London— Customers now routinely expect timely, targeted and meaningful connections with brands both online & offline. However, whilst companies are aware of the importance of getting data-driven marketing right to achieve these connections, very few are yet able to do so at high maturity, dynamically optimising multiple customer touchpoints across channels, and most do not know how to get there. This is according to new research by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Google, which has found that just 2% of brands currently achieve ‘multi-moment maturity’.

The research highlights that whilst few brands currently achieve meaningful connections at scale, those that do see significant cost and revenue benefits. Over 40 companies were surveyed in Europe across eight industries including Retail, Auto and Technology. These were then ranked on a maturity scale from nascent to multi-moment. The most mature companies attribute up to 20% incremental revenue impact (on average 16p.p. higher than less mature companies) and up to 30% cost efficiencies (on average 13 p.p. higher than less mature companies), with incremental value achieved at each step of the journey.

“The benefits of achieving meaningful connections through multi-moment, data driven marketing are clear. However, our research has shown that very few organisations are currently implementing it. By not seizing this opportunity, they not only miss out on potential cost savings and revenue but risk alienating customers or being left behind by competitors,” says Dominic Field, a BCG senior partner and co-author of the study.

The companies surveyed identified an inability to link data across touch points (83%) and attribute value to touch points (78%), as well as inadequate cross-functional coordination (80%) as barriers to realising the full potential of data-driven marketing. Half of companies believe it will take over two years to reach multi-moment maturity.

“Advertisers understand the need for data driven marketing but are challenged with identifying a tangible path forward. This framework allows advertisers to benchmark where they are today and helps give clarity on where to focus in order to move the needle,” says Arnaud Monnier, Google Analytics 360 EMEA Managing Director.

“Whilst there is no 'magic bullet' for instant improvements, there are a number of success factors that we have identified,” adds Shilpa Patel, a BCG partner and co-author of the study. “Companies can accelerate their path to maturity by addressing six key organisational and technical factors, increasing efficiency and effectiveness at each step of the way.”

Technical factors include: connected data; automation and integrated technology; and actionable measurement. Organisational factors include: strategic partnerships; specialist skills; and agile teaming and fail fast culture. There are then three stages to reach multi-moment maturity.

To realise the full potential of data-driven marketing, companies should firstly set the foundation. From an organisational side, they should nominate a C-suite sponsor and leverage partnerships. Technically, an understanding of what data is currently available is key, as well as implementing website analytics and tags tied to meaningful business outcomes. Given the potential for rapid cost and revenue improvements that can be captured in data-driven marketing, companies should move quickly, funding investments from benefits accrued in real time.

Next, the focus should be on building connections within the organisation. This means co-locating functions, embedding measurement experts, defining common KPIs. For the final step, companies need to make every moment matter. This requires the insourcing of key capabilities, encouragement of agile teams, automating the activation of online and offline data, linking objectives to key business outcomes, and using sophisticated attribution to optimise value to each customer engagement. At each stage this will increase brands effectiveness and efficiency, leading to increased revenues.

For more information or to arrange an interview with one of our experts please contact Rebecca Cummins at +44 207 753 8383 or cummins.rebecca@bcg.com.

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