A recent report commissioned by Adobe, entitled Context Is Everything, showed that while 91% of 100 UK businesses surveyed agreed that personalisation of the customer experience is essential to their marketing strategies for 2019, only 30% were happy with the level of marketing personalisation they were currently providing. With new technologies able to support this effort, intelligent software will play a key role in delivering better insights and driving personalised communication.

Too Much Data, Too Little Time

In the UK, 60% of respondents said the biggest barrier to effective personalisation was collecting too much data from too many sources, while 56% felt they could not process data quickly enough. For anyone working with data-driven marketing, these statistics will come as no surprise. While we have access to more customer data than ever, it can often be near-impossible to identify what is the most relevant information, and which data points can be connected or compared to create better segmentation.

Unsurprisingly then, implementing new software solutions and a programmatic approach to data management is an important next step for many firms. 70% surveyed said they wished to implement AI solutions before the end of 2019, rising to 92% by the end of 2020. More than half planned to use external consultants or contractors to plug skill gaps around programmatic marketing. 

While this is welcome news for eCommerce marketers, it is also unexplored territory for many. Programmatic marketing for meaningful personalisation has only relatively recently become a reality, and it can be quite scary moving away from traditional manual analytics toward complex, multi-channel analysis. Identifying key skill-sets required and developing a strategic, organisation-wide plan that supports and draws insights from new software will should be the primary goal for firms attempting to make the most of what AI solutions can offer.

Complex, Connected Datasets

This means that over the next year, many businesses will need to get to grips with the data they are collecting, the sources from which they are doing so and the way in which software is used to connect and analyse data points within complex, multi-source data-sets. Context will be key for understanding buyer decisions and targeting communications accordingly. 

Adobe suggest that as well as seeking out context, brands should be mindful of both the advantages and limitations of AI, regularly reviewing and acting on data insights to remain adaptable and make the most of AI capabilities. As VP of Marketing, Bridget Perry, puts it:

“The biggest mistake you can make is to start using AI without also adapting the way you work. The technology can have a major impact when it is used correctly but is no saviour on its own.”

Bridget Perry, VP Marketing, Adobe EMEA Tweet

Clearly the next few years will see a major shake-up of the way retail marketers and agencies are working with customer data, and we will undoubtedly see interesting new marketing trends emerging from this. As more and more firms roll out AI-supported marketing strategies, the way we understand and use data could be about to change dramatically.