Marketers overwhelmingly agree that gaining a single view of the customer is vital to improving return on marketing spend and providing the seamless experiences that today's always-on customers expect, yet only 6% say they have attained that full customer view, according to a study from real-time, cross-channel marketing firm Signal. This article is copyright 2015 The Best Customer Guide.

Based on a global survey of marketers, the report details that an overwhelming majority of brands do not have a single view of their customers, despite 90% of marketers reporting it as important or essential to achieving key marketing goals.

For example, 62% of respondents stated that fragmented data leads to incomplete marketing measurement and hinders the ability to personalise customer experiences.

More than one third (35%) also confirmed that they cannot understand the customer journey with incomplete data, and one quarter say it causes inefficient and wasteful media buying.

"Cross-channel identity is make-or-break for marketing success in today's connected world. Consumers are always on via the web, mobile, in stores, and more," said Neil Joyce, Managing Director, EMEA. "But this study shows that marketers globally are challenged to create the seamless experience buyers now expect and demand from brands. And we found similar results when we drilled down into feedback from European markets."

Additional key findings from the study included:

  • The promise of a real-time, single customer view is great, but it's difficult to achieve. The study found 57% of marketers are unable to merge profile fragments as data becomes available, and 55% lack the ability to collect and connect data across channels. Current tools used by marketers aren't helping solve these problems, as 70% say their solutions have gaps in data capabilities or effectiveness. Only 8% of respondents say their tools are doing a good job in helping them develop a unified customer view.
  • Marketers struggle to gather and integrate data from many of the most common consumer touch points. Only 37% of marketers can collect and integrate mobile app data, and only half can do so from CRM systems. Less than half - 42% - can collect and connect ad impression data, and only 23% are able to gather and merge Point of Sale (POS) data.

"It is clear that marketers recognise the business benefits of a single customer view. Understanding customer behaviour across channels and improving marketing ROI are the top two reported benefits," concluded Joyce. "The good news is that better solutions to create a unified customer view do exist."