Linking Data Becomes the Biggest Challenge for Global Marketers

Published: June 1, 2015 by Editor

Confronted with a vast amount of incoming data, today’s digital marketers are facing an on-going battle to keep up. According to Experian Marketing Services’ 2015 Digital Marketer Report, the biggest hurdles and key priorities for marketers this year are dependent on having accurate, enriched data that can be linked together in a central location for a complete customer view.

Moving from fourth place in 2014 to first place in 2015, linkage has quickly moved up the ranks as one of the top the leading barriers to cross-channel success. According to the report, eighty-nine percent of marketers say that they have trouble achieving a single customer view, and a third of those questioned see effective linkage as the main barrier (32 percent) to creating a truly cross-channel marketing strategy.

The full 2015 Digital Marketer Report can be downloaded from the Experian Marketing Services’ Website here: http://bit.ly/1AJDYah

The biggest challenge identified by marketers for achieving a single customer view is poor data quality (cited by 43 percent of marketers), followed by siloed departments (39 percent) and the inability to link different technologies (37 percent).

IMAGE - Top challenges to a single customer view

Experian Marketing Services surveyed more than 1,000 marketers worldwide to identify the biggest opportunities and challenges for marketers from around the world. The annual report benchmarks some of the key issues that brands face trying to engage audiences with relevant messages, in an often complex digital environment.

Separate research conducted by Experian Data Quality earlier this year found that 91 percent of companies are leveraging data and data quality in an attempt to optimize their customer experience. However, only 28 percent of companies are creating real-time triggered messaging across multiple channels with their data.

To deal with this issue, Experian Marketing Services helps organizations link data sets together to find unique consumer insights, significantly improving the way organizations meaningfully connect with their audiences.

“Consumers demand exceptional brand experiences, but without the right strategy and technology for collecting, authenticating, linking and managing all the data coming into an organization today, brands are unable to meet that demand,” said Ashley Johnston, senior vice president, Global Marketing, Experian Marketing Services. “Accurate, enriched data allows brands to stand out from competitors, create relevant interactions based on the deepest understanding of their customers and build successful customer-acquisition strategies as their priorities suggest.”

“Achieving single customer view is a key step in the right direction, but fully optimized cross-channel marketing is still the Holy Grail for marketers around the globe. The in-depth process required in setting up a strategy presents a range of hurdles, and there are other important issues to overcome in the process,” said Simon Martin, Experian Marketing Services, UK. “It takes entire companies working together to get a better understanding of their customers and to plan an engagement strategy that will resonate uniquely with each customer at every point of interaction.”

A question of linkage

The 2015 Digital Marketer Report identified several top barriers to achieving a fully integrated cross-channel marketing approach: no single customer view (32 percent), companies’ current technology (31 percent) and organizational structure of the business (31 percent) came out on top.

GRAPH - Top barries to cross-channel marketing

Around the world

The top challenges for marketers from around the world share many similarities, but priorities and barriers differ slightly by region.


  • Single customer view (SCV) and data linkage is seen as more of a challenge than any other, with nearly two-fifths (37 percent) of U.K. respondents saying this was their top challenge, beating organizational structure (33 percent) and the company’s current technology (32 percent).
  • United Kingdom marketers are more likely to believe they understand customer behavior and have a clear roadmap toward cross-channel success (with only 21 percent and 20 percent, respectively, identifying these as challenges) compared to the global average of 25 percent apiece.


  • The picture in Europe is very different than the United Kingdom. In Spain, only 17 percent of respondents reported the same issue with linkage; instead, the major problem was identified as the company’s current technology (42 percent) as holding them back.
  • French marketers follow a similar pattern and are also more confident with their grasp of linkage, with 24 percent flagging it as an issue. Again, technology (38 percent) is the most pressing concern for French respondents.

North America:

  • Organizational structure was identified as the most important issue in North America, with 38 percent of respondents rating this as their highest priority.
  • Respondents also are more likely to say they don’t have a clear roadmap to success (26 percent) than the global average.


  • In Japan, marketers are confident in their technology, with only 9 percent seeing this as an issue. Instead, 44 percent struggle to link data to create a single customer view.
  • Meanwhile, respondents from Australia and New Zealand identify technology as the largest single challenge to their cross-channel strategy (35 percent).

Be sure to check out our 2015 Digital Marketer infographic that highlights key findings from the research.

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