Building personalized customer relationships is a top-end goal for all marketers. Executing on that can prove elusive for some, evidenced by a new Teradata survey.

Teradata, the analytic data platforms, marketing applications and services company, surveyed more than 400 digital marketing leaders at large global enterprises about trends in the marketplace and their strategic priorities around technology investment as they prepare for 2015 and beyond.   

Teradata's report, “Enterprise Priorities in Digital Marketing,” is based on a global survey conducted in July by Econsultancy U.S.

Here are some of the report’s key findings:

The debate about how to approach the modern consumer is over. The largest marketing organizations in the world have concluded that enhancing customer relationships via multiple digital channels best supports sustainable growth and reliable retention. This focus on thoroughly understanding the customer through data, and acting on insights found in data to design interactions, is driving an unprecedented demand for technology. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of respondents view improving customer satisfaction as the top reason to invest more in technology. Becoming more customer-centric is a Top Two priority for 49% of respondent organizations.  

Customer data provides key insights about behavior and preference, yet data integration and access remain a challenge. Marketers must align an array of capabilities to capture and manage customer data. A key challenge is making technology and data work together at scale and across corporate functions. Nearly 50% of organizations cite full integration with other technologies as their top criterion for new technology adoption,

High priorities for personalization and customer-centricity are driving technology investments. 32% of enterprises consider personalization a top priority, although fewer than 20% are executing on it real-time in day-to-day business. Still, 47% acknowledge that improving the customer experience is the top benefit of personalization programs. 

Although enterprises are pursuing a data-driven marketing model, budgets are still heavily steered by past experience. While respondents cite hard evidence and experimentation as the largest factors in determining other elements of strategic direction, experience plays a larger role than data when it comes to budget decisions. This begs the question of business leaders: Is your marketing organization really data-driven?

By 2019, the average investment in digital marketing will be approximately 40% of companies’ total marketing expenditures, up from about 25% today. 

For 2015 digital marketing budgets will increase in mobile, content and display advertising. Mobile will continue to be an area of emphasis, with 34% of marketing leaders saying they plan a significant increase for 2015. Content marketing and display advertising round out the top three planned areas of increase. At the other end of the spectrum, paid search budgets will continue growing but incrementally, with 37% planning some increase, but only 14% predicting a significant one.

“Strategic direction is only as powerful as the investment that supports it,” Darryl McDonald, president, Teradata Marketing Applications, said in the report. “We’ve been talking about personalization for years. Now, through digital marketing, custom analytics and marketing as a service, the appetite is real and true personalization is the future. Only a customer-centric strategy that combines technology and data can deliver sustainable opportunities for businesses to drive top-line growth through continuously more personalized data-driven marketing strategies.”   

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