There can be no doubt that marketers are keen to embrace new platforms and technologies to help them drive growth. Sadly, it would appear that there is still a gap between those goals and the methods they have at their disposal to achieve them.

The challenge is that while new technologies and the data that underpins them have the potential to create a truly omnichannel customer experience, marketers’ methodologies are still forcing everything through the same outdated, siloed processes.

The traditional funnel no longer works. It assumes audiences are linear and predictable in their behaviour. At the same time, it doesn’t take into account the fact that people will act the way they want to act, rather than sticking to a sequence designed by marketers.

To help marketers break free from these processes that are stopping them from capitalising on the opportunities that more agile, disruptive companies are enjoying, this report identifies some key areas ripe for change.

The New Marketing Reality report, produced in association with IBM Watson Marketing, explores the challenges that marketers face in the three key battlefields of data, customer experience and business outcomes.

The research is based on a survey of more than 1,000 marketing, digital and ecommerce professionals.

Findings include:

  • Audience segmentation is the topmost priority, with 72% of executives stating that they are using their data to support this activity. It is viewed as a standard tactic by even the most laggard of companies. The next most popular data-related activity is customer journey mapping, with 67% practising it.
  • The vast majority (80%) of those who rate their ability to understand the customer journey across channels and devices as ‘advanced’ or ‘intermediate’ find customer journey mapping or analysis ‘highly valuable’ and the remaining 20% claim it is ‘quite valuable’.
  • Most respondents are still finding it hard to move out of the channel-focused mindset, hampered by both technology and organisational structure.
  • Considering that 83% of more advanced companies claim to practise customer journey mapping, we might expect less channel focus but 59% still have difficulty unifying their data sources and a further 61% are struggling with the complexity of their customer touchpoints.
  • From a business buy-in and organisational perspective, there is still some work to do. The customer journey is still to see the sort of formalised approach that data strategies are only now beginning to enjoy.