SAN JOSE, CA: Marketers continue to struggle to achieve a coherent view of customers across all touchpoints and to deliver the seamless experience the latter have been led to expect, according to a new study.

The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and SAP Hybris polled 170 global marketing leaders in B2B and B2C organisations, 39% from businesses with more than $1bn in revenue. The resulting Context, Commerce and Customer: Best Practices to Exceed Expectations report found "an extremely limited effort to align and integrate marketing and commerce technologies".

More than a third (39%) of respondents said their technology investments had met expectations in some areas, such as measurement and customer interaction.

But they fell short when it came to connecting content, commerce, conversation and campaigns with back-end operational realities, supply chain logistics and organisational capabilities – all of which affect the customer experience.

Just over half of respondents (55%) were working on systems to extend marketing's view of the customer to include insights from all impact and interaction points in the customer journey. But 17% weren't convinced that was possible in their organisations.

"With the advancement of marketing technologies and tools in recent years, marketers have benefited from greater transparency into the measurement of traditional marketing practices," said Liz Miller, SVP/ Marketing for the CMO Council.

"While this has helped marketers somewhat, it still falls short of providing a holistic, real-time view of the customer and their interactions at every step of the journey," she added.

"The new challenge will be to extend the processes and platforms that power the customer experience beyond the comfortable walls of marketing. This will be the point at which customer experience stops being a marketing campaign and becomes a focus of a business and a true competitive advantage."

Key to that, the report said, will be a shift in organisational thinking around data and the intelligence it delivers, with more effective sharing urgently needed and the ending of data silos – particularly around real-time predictive (machine learning) analytics, commerce data, psychographic data, HR insights and predictive (batch-based) analytics.

Personalisation in context, the study added, is at a standstill. Only 4% of respondents were able to power all interactions in every channel with rich, real-time, personalised experiences.

Data sourced from CMO Council; additional content by Warc staff