In a tough economy, where privacy legislation and technology changes make qualitative consumer data increasingly difficult to access, B2C marketers are struggling to adapt their data strategies for deeper customer understanding and to develop AI capabilities to personalize experiences.

Forrester conducted a survey of 906 B2C marketing decision-makers. The results are quite telling. Among the many challenges they face, most of the top five are related to data issues:

  1. Personalizing communications, experiences, and interactions: 41%.
  2. Coordinating different marketing service providers (including agencies): 40%.
  3. Creating a single view of the customer across channels and interactions: 37%.
  4. Driving decision-making with customer insights: 34%.
  5. Managing data quality: 31%.

Unsurprisingly, B2C marketers consider updating their data strategy to adapt to data deprecation and introducing or enhancing AI capabilities as among the most difficult priorities to achieve, for almost one in two decision-makers.

Here is some guidance to successfully navigate the rest of 2023:

  • Foster empathy to better understand customer needs.
  • Embrace the journey-centric revolution via marketing and customer experience (CX) alignment.
  • Pragmatically test AI use cases to temper technology hype.
  • Fully leverage martech investments to activate data at scale.
  • Accelerate marketing transformation with internal and external skill orchestration.
  • Align marketing and CX metrics with customer lifetime value to measure growth.

Scaling new data initiatives takes time and often demands a move to the cloud, but it pays off. As Alexis Trichet, VP of strategy, data, and consumer insight at Orange, summed it up, “Thanks to a team of 50 data analysts, engineers, scientists, and developers, we’ve been scaling our AI initiatives over the past two years by industrializing a personalization and recommendation engine that now generates an average 5% increase in sale.”

My colleague Rusty Warner and I just published a new report, 2023 B2C Marketing Challenges And Priorities. Clients can access the report and schedule a guidance session to discuss this topic in greater depth.