76% of Marketing Execs Say They Don’t Target With Behavioral Data

Razorfish study of C-suite set raises eyebrows

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Seventy-six percent of marketers do not utilize behavioral data in either segmentation analysis or targeting, per a Razorfish study called The State of Always-On Marketing that surveyed 685 C-suite executives. In this so-called Big Data era, that number seems surprisingly high—to say the least.

"There are two primary factors behind most companies not using behavioral data," said Pete Stein, CEO of Razorfish, a global digital agency that's based in New York. "The first is that today’s marketers continue to use the technology, processes and tools developed 20 years ago or more to drive consumer segmentation.

"Secondly, there’s been exponential growth in the availability of behavioral data. There’s been a lot of talk and investment in the past few years on the importance of data and analytics, but many companies are struggling to translate this data, with technology and skills, into better data-led customer-facing experiences. We see this gap closing rapidly because of the proliferation of scalable data management platforms and advanced near-real-time segmentation technology."

Here are a few other findings from the Razorfish's executives-based study, which was sponsored by Adobe and compiled by an unnamed survey vendor:

  • Fifty-eight percent considered themselves strong at targeting experiences to segmented groups, while only 38 percent believed they are capable of targeting prospects versus returning customers. Stein said the disparity between the numbers "makes it clear there's a disconnect between [audience] segmentation development and execution."
  • Just 13 percent said their companies are pushing segmented experiences and measuring the results.
  • Less than 5 percent believe they are managing experiences for an "always-on" consumer.

That last number doesn't seem to speak well for the state of either mobile or real-time marketing. At any rate, Stein added the research suggests that brands are being hurt in terms of return on investment. 

"Regardless of channel type, there is a huge difference between spending money on speaking to someone who is never going to buy your product or service versus investing in speaking to someone who is likely to convert or influence other converters," he said. "But you can’t know the difference between these two audiences without data. Knowing who you are reaching and how they respond to different tactics helps optimize marketing spend."

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.