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Digital Initiatives Expose Gaps In Customer Analytics Capabilities

Michael Barnes
Vice President, Research Director
January 28, 2015

In my last blog post I outlined Forrester’s key customer insights (CI) predictions for 2015. Now I’d like to drill down into some of the key barriers to CI effectiveness we’re seeing among Asia Pacific-based organizations. This content was pulled from my recently published report, which Forrester clients can access here.

Core competencies of effective CI pros have typically centered on customer segmentation and campaign performance measurement. When extending these capabilities to digital marketing strategies, the goal is typically to enable more effective customer acquisition and onboarding by extending reach. In other words, digital innovation often simply means “better campaigns.”

But what happens once that process is complete? It’s not enough to have a world-class digital capability for acquiring new customers. Empowered customers expect the same type of seamless experience, improved efficiency, and heightened responsiveness in all subsequent interactions with your brand.

So why so many firms struggling to realize the full potential of customer analytics to effectively serve and retain their customers? I’ll give you four reasons:

■  Digital marketing strategies are too narrowly focused on existing services and capabilities. Customer experience (CX) is a top business priority for Australian organizations. This is fueling digital initiatives among the region’s banks, financial services firms, telcos, and global brands with a strong Asia Pacific (AP) presence. But for many firms in AP growth markets, gaining customer understanding through outside-in tools like journey mapping is still unexplored territory. In instances where firms do use customer journey mapping, it only targets individual channels; traditional organizational and operational silos often remain in place, hindering CX initiatives.

■  Existing organizational structures hinder a consistent digital experience. Most firms still operate in silos; marketing, sales, service, production, and other teams all focus on optimizing their own functions, including the use of data and analytics. But the customer life cycle cuts across all of these internal organizational boundaries — so CI pros must too. If your digital strategies don’t transcend traditional internal silos, your customer analytics strategies likely won’t either.

■  Even where a digital strategy is well-defined, there’s no data strategy supporting it. Few firms have developed a strong internal link between improved CX and data-driven CI. Without it, firms struggle to identify opportunities at the customer acquisition stage or to extend their analytics capabilities to other business functions, such as sales decision-making or customer relationship management.

■  Web analytics is too narrowly targeted at customer acquisition. Web analytics is critical to iteratively and incrementally increasing conversion rates for digital products; interpreting behavior, navigation, and pathways; and measuring campaign effectiveness. But traditional web analytics techniques were not designed for the breadth of channels, devices, and speeds that fuels today’s digital interactions. CI pros must reconcile web analytics with traditional campaign management, existing business intelligence (BI) capabilities, and advanced analytics tools to optimize the entire customer life cycle to provide the data that business staff require in order to extend insights from the front end (web traffic) to the back end (account activity).

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