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Leveraging Consumer Data is Biggest Challenge Facing Online Marketers in 2014, According to Annual StrongView Marketing Trends Survey

Push to increase relevancy and engagement hampered by data quality and latency.

Redwood City, CA (PRWEB) December 17, 2013

The good news is marketers plan to increase their budgets on activities that increase customer engagement through more relevant and timely campaigns; however, the bad news is they say their lack of ways to quickly access and apply high quality, comprehensive data continues to thwart their efforts.

This is according to StrongView’s "2014 Marketing Trends Survey," which provides unique insight into how businesses plan to prioritize marketing dollars, programs and channels in the New Year.

The survey results shine a bright light on the widely held challenges presented by the plethora of data now available to marketers. In short, while brands are capturing more customer and industry data than ever before, marketers report common problems in accessing and leveraging it in the most meaningful ways. However, these challenges are not stopping those marketers from increasing their spending on customer engagement: a whopping 93% plan to increase or maintain marketing budgets for the year. This is up from 89% in 2013. Email marketing, social media marketing, search marketing, display marketing and mobile marketing top the list of areas for increased spending in 2014.

"While we saw a strong desire to engage with customers at a more personal and meaningful level in our survey this year, marketers remain hampered and frustrated by an inability to access and leverage all the data being generated by a growing number of marketing channels," said Shawn Myers, vice president of marketing at StrongView. "Effectively engaging customers with what we call 'Present Tense Marketing' requires an in-depth understanding of the customer’s context at a particular moment in time, and that can only be achieved with the strategic use of all available data."


  •     40% cite accessing and leveraging customer data as biggest email marketing challenge; 36% lack of resources; 32% developing more relevant engagements.
  •     44% have goal to improve engagement; 36% to improve segmentation and targeting; 31% to grow opt-in lists.
  •     93% plan to increase or maintain marketing budgets in 2014; 46% plan to increase.
  •     52% plan to increase email marketing spend; 46% social media; 41% search; 36% display.
  •     57% of email lifecycle marketing to be focused on loyalty; 53% on welcome; 50% winback.
  •     59% plan to integrate email with social; 55% with mobile; 23% with display.
  •     55% of marketers chose Facebook as the most valuable social channel; 18% LinkedIn; 10% Twitter; less than 5% named Pinterest, Google+ or Instagram as most valuable.

In last year's StrongView 2013 Marketing Trends Survey, marketers reported facing challenges with managing data and integrating it with other channels. This latest survey goes further to uncover the biggest challenges to leveraging data, with quality (22%), latency in its availability to marketers (16%) and lack of strategy (15%) topping the list. Data access and the ability to specifically leverage web behavior (34%), shopping behavior (25%) and customer sentiment (23%) were particularly vexing to marketers. Demographics (53%), purchase history (49%) and web behavioral data (31%) were used most often in campaigns. The challenges surrounding the use and understanding of data were highly noted in responses to almost every question.

Across channels, marketers report that a key objective in 2014 will be to increase engagement with customers, primarily by creating campaigns with higher degrees of relevancy based on contextual clues. StrongView recommends that marketers achieve relevancy by developing campaigns that adopt the tenets of "Present Tense Marketing," whereby marketers adapt in real time to a customer's present tense or current state, putting the next marketing action in the proper context of their activities.

The stalwart channels of email and search marketing remain principal avenues for marketers to reach customers, with social media marketing continuing to rise in importance. More than 50% of marketers plan budget increases in email and 46% in social marketing in 2014; 41% of marketers plan to increase search spending, up from 39.8% in 2013.

Respondents reported intentions to increase spending for automated email programs such as lifecycle (34%) and triggered events (38%). Of the marketers who plan to increase spend on lifecycle email marketing programs, 57% plan to focus on loyalty programs with 50% indicating a focus on winback efforts and 53% on welcoming new customers. These and other data support marketers’ plans to make strides in customer engagement in the coming year.

While the investment in social channels overall to engage customers is set to increase in 2014 (46%), marketers overwhelmingly and, not surprisingly, name the largest social platforms as their most valuable channels.

Facebook ranked among the top three by 81% of marketers, Twitter by 67%, YouTube by 48% and LinkedIn by 44%. Pinterest, for example, though noted as valuable to some degree by more than 85% of respondents, was listed as a top three most valuable channel by less than 13% of marketers. Highly popular Instagram was only ranked in the top three by 10% of marketers, though 86% saw some value.

An infographic highlighting key findings is available at:

Full survey data is available at:

The StrongView "2014 Marketing Trends Survey" was conducted in conjunction with SENSORPRO. The poll, which gathered feedback from 386 business executives across all major industries, was conducted from November 18 - 27, 2013.

StrongView's cross-channel marketing solutions provide enterprise marketers with the tools, services and insights required to effectively engage today's constantly connected customers. Combining a powerful cross-channel campaign management solution with market-leading data access and analysis, StrongView's Marketing Cloud enables marketers to understand the current context of each customer and respond in real time with relevant messages across email, mobile, social, display and web.

A champion of "Present Tense Marketing," StrongView is committed to delivering solutions that reflect the new reality of the technology-empowered customer. Based in Redwood City, CA and backed by leading venture capital investors, StrongView has been helping global brands in retail, travel, finance, entertainment and online services overcome the limitations of other marketing platform providers for more than a decade.

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