The Asia Pacific and Middle East regions are at the cusp of leveraging data strategies and insight for action and outcomes, according to a study conducted by Forrester Consulting for Epsilon, Adobe and Publicis Groupe. This article is copyright 2021 The Best Customer Guide.

The time to talk about insights from data is long gone, and organizations must now look instead for actions that are driven by data insights. Mature countries such as Australia and Singapore point the way, the study concluded.

The study surveyed 250 decision-makers ranging from senior managers to C-level executives across Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, India and United Arab Emirates from the BFSI, Hospitality & Tourism, and Retail industries, and that examined marketers' priorities and challenges in enabling customer data platforms (CDPs) and the broader data value chain, and to understand the current approach, mindset, and existing data practices.

"We believe this insightful study clearly indicates that marketers in the region have embarked on a journey to leverage data intelligently to create personalized marketing campaigns that deliver results," said Ashish Sinha, Managing Director for APAC and MEA, Epsilon. "While CDPs emerge as the holy grail, it will be on a solid foundation of identity that allows brands to deliver relevant messages, while reducing waste, customer churn, and optimising return on marketing investment. When brands get identity right, it gives them a fighting chance to not only survive but thrive."

The study yielded three main findings:

  1. Lack of data maturity hampers CDP success
    The study reveals that data management issues stifle the success of CDPs. Decision-makers whose organizations have implemented some version of a CDP, cited challenges with merging data into a single repository; keeping customer profiles up to date; and analyzing the data and finding actionable insights.
  2. Firms plan to increase investment in CDPs
    35% of respondents said they are planning to invest/ increase their investment in CDPs in the next 12 months. The study highlighted three key factors that drive CDP adoption: Ability to create a single unified customer profile across channels and devices (83%); Ability to increase customer acquisition through more targeted ads (71%); and Ability to customise experiences, for both known and unknown customers (63%).
  3. Elevate customer identity management practices to foster better business outcomes, with convenience
    When asked about customer identity management practices, half of decision-makers said that first-party data is mostly or significantly combined across online and offline sources and linked to customer records for sales and marketing teams to have a complete view of their customers. 70% of respondents believe that integration of online and offline data sources provides a differentiated customer experience.

According to Adrian Farouk, CEO, Epsilon ANZ, "This study highlights that deprecation of third-party cookies is necessitating brands to not only own their first-party data but to build an ecosystem whereby it is continually replenished, relevant and up-to-date. They need to discover the value of the data they own before supplementing it with external data to gain end-to-end view of the customer journey. The future will see brands being in better control of their destinies and enhancing trust with consumers."