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Obtaining a single customer view remains a huge challenge for marketers in spite of the ever-improving capabilities of digital technologies.

But unified marketing is a nirvana worth striving for according to a new report from Econsultancy and Tealium.

The Path to Unified Marketing investigates the difficulties that brands face in obtaining a single view of their customers, as well giving an overview of the state of the industry.

One of the sections examines the benefits of unified marketing by comparing the expectations of those who haven’t tied their data together with the experience of those who have achieved some degree of a single customer view. 

Respondents were asked to identify what they perceive to be the top three benefits of integrating their marketing applications and data.

Interestingly, the rankings of the benefits are largely in line with one another, so the perceived advantages of unified marketing turn out to be true in practice.

Targeting and optimization at a customer level achieved the highest score for both groups, with better customer service and segmentation rounding out the top three for those who have achieved significant integration. 

What are the primary advantages of unifying digital marketing applications and data?

There is, however, a disconnect around the level to which conversion rates will be impacted by unified marketing.

Respondents with ‘limited/no integration’ believe that higher conversion rates will be one of the top advantages (49%), but among more advanced companies it takes a back seat to their customer-centric priorities.

This may well be because conversion rate optimization is an outcome of better data handling, several steps removed from pulling the data together. 

What’s the right way forward?

The new report examines the obstacles to unified marketing as well as the best ways to move forward.

Budgeting, predicting scheduling and getting management buy-in were cited as three of the main obstacles, and with good reason.

To finish, here’s a selection of the comments given when respondents were asked what they learned when unifying their organization’s applications and marketing data:

Development of the strategy/roadmap takes much longer than we anticipated. It is easy to start down the wrong path without a clear map.

Consider your timeline for implementation very carefully, and then double the time. Do not set completion dates until all stakeholders have weighed in.

The Path to Unified Marketing is based on a survey of 313 client-side marketers in Q2 2014. Click here to download it.

David Moth

Published 17 July, 2014 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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