Merkle report: Personalization gains wide adoption, but marketers can do better

  •   November 6, 2019

Performance marketing agency Merkle has released the latest edition of its quarterly report, the Q4 2019 Customer Engagement Report (download required). The report addresses results from a Merkle survey of over 200 marketers from North American brands spanning across industries including retail, high-tech, financial, travel, media and entertainment, health and nonprofit.

The Q4 report explores the various data types marketers use to enable personalization, along with the emerging tools and tactics that drive ongoing marketing improvements. The survey found that while there is broad adoption of personalization across marketing organizations, there is plenty of room for growth.

Why we should care

The survey discovered that 86% of marketers have the budget, solutions and infrastructure in place to drive personalized customer experience across digital channels. Despite having all the right tools, respondents indicated that the use of individual data sources for personalization is low. According to Merkle, 70% of respondents reported that third-party customer demographics are used in email, 40% in digital media, and less than 30% on website.

Source: Merkle’s Q4 2019 Customer Engagement Report

Merkle also analyzed loyalty program tactics used by marketers. The study found that despite respondents indicating an increase in investments in loyalty platforms and emerging technologies, spend on loyalty program management, email marketing and operational resources have stayed the same or decreased. 81% of survey respondents reported they have a defined loyalty program in place.

Additionally, Merkle identified a gap between high-level reporting on data use and available and the use of specific data sources for loyalty programs. 62% of respondents indicated they have loyalty programs that are fully integrated with their CRM data, but are using less of the available data in loyalty efforts compared to wider marketing initiatives; 38% indicate using third-party demographic data to personalize loyalty programs compared to 86% in overall marketing efforts.

More on the news:

  • 60% of respondents reported that a majority of their revenue was driven by data-based triggers but only 28% of messaging is based on one-to-one behavior triggers.
  • Nearly 90% of marketers use personalization on at least one channel, but most have not adopted advanced tactics.