3Q Digital Research Finds Marketers Still Facing Three Significant Challenges in Pursuit of Customer-Centric Growth in 2016

San Mateo, CA – In a new era of data-driven, customer centricity, modern marketers’ perceptions aren’t matching their realities. This was one of the findings of new research undertaken by 3Q Digital, a Harte Hanks company and leading digital marketing agency, on the challenges to growth faced by marketers. The report, released today, found that in spite of widespread confidence amongst marketers in their customer understanding, many are still not achieving the key milestones needed to truly understand their customer journeys.

3Q Digital’s report, “Modern Marketers: Addressing Today’s Three Biggest Challenges to Growth”, found that marketers often have perceptions of their industry that didn’t reflect the day-to-day activities they engaged in. For example, 87 percent of marketers believe that they understand the motivations of their target customer, yet only 54 percent have successfully mapped their marketing activities to the customer journey. This disparity suggests that customer centricity is not being achieved as well as marketers might hope.

Data also continues to be a struggle for marketers, who have long acknowledged its importance in building effective customer-centric campaigns. Despite great efforts within the industry to make data more accessible to marketing teams, 46 percent of marketers reported being dissatisfied with the amount of data available to them, and more than half (57 percent) weren’t satisfied with the effort required to gather different types of data. Meanwhile, data that was more accessible is considered less influential than the data marketers aren’t able to access, such as desired customer outcomes and marketing ROI.

Structural challenges also abound for marketers, amidst overwhelming confidence in the effectiveness of their organization’s marketing activities and their own efforts (88 percent and 95 percent, respectively). Two-thirds wouldn’t describe their own departments as integrated or efficient, while only 54 percent are able to measure return-on-investment. These statistics highlight that marketers are not as effective as they could be with greater integration, efficiency and knowledge on their ROI.

In the realm of client-agency relations, strategic guidance appears to be lacking for client-side marketers, in spite of a strong desire for it. 79 percent of client-side marketers who work with an agency said they wanted their agencies to push back when they didn’t agree with a set strategy, but only 45 percent found the amount of pushback they received to be satisfactory. The results suggest that marketers are looking for their agencies to take a stronger stance in recommending strategic changes for a more successful relationship.

“Despite a barrage of information on what they should be doing, marketers are still being confronted with challenges to success,” said Scott Rayden, CMO, 3Q Digital. “We wanted to get a clearer picture of our industry beyond our day-to-day interaction with clients, and it’s apparent that the struggle to leverage data, lack of active customer-centric strategy, and organizational roadblocks are standing in the way of growth for a vast number of modern marketers. We’re hopeful that with the right approach and technological expertise, modern marketers can overcome these challenges and achieve the customer-centric success they’re looking for.”

3Q Digital’s report, which surveyed 315 senior marketers, delves into these obstacles to growth and their potential causes. The report can be downloaded here.

About 3Q Digital
3Q Digital, which was acquired by Harte Hanks in March 2015, is headquartered in Silicon Valley, with offices in San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago, Austin, New York City, and Burlington, VT. The company has grown clients including SurveyMonkey, Eventbrite, CuriosityStream, and SiriusXM; its services include SEM, SEO, paid social, mobile advertising, analytics, video advertising, display advertising, and landing-page optimization as well as strategic consulting.