Linking data is the biggest challenge for global marketers

Annual global research identifies linkage, technology and organisational structure as the three key challenges in digital marketing

London, England, UK and New York, New York, USA, 2 June 2015 – Digital marketers are facing an on-going battle getting to grips with the huge amounts of data they have to work with.

The biggest hurdles and key priorities for marketers this year are dependent on having accurate, enriched data, linked together in a central location for a complete customer view, that’s according to new findings published in Experian’s 2015 Global Marketer Report.

Linkage topped the list of barriers to cross-channel marketing success, moving from fourth place in 2014 to first place in 2015. 

89% 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%) to creating a truly cross-channel marketing strategy.

The biggest challenge identified by marketers for achieving that Single Customer View is poor data quality (cited by 43% of marketers), followed by siloed departments (39%) and the inability to link different technologies together (37%).

Experian Marketing Services surveyed more than 1,000 marketers worldwide to identify the biggest opportunities and challenges for marketers. 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, found that 91% of companies are using data in an attempt to optimise their customer experience. However, only 28% are creating real-time, triggered messaging across multiple channels with their data.

To deal with this issue, Experian helps organisations link data sets together to find unique consumer insights, significantly improving the way organisations 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 organisation today, brands are unable to meet that demand,” said Ashley Johnston, Senior Vice President, Global Marketing at Experian Marketing Services. “Accurate, enriched data allows brands to stand out against competitors, create relevant interactions based on the deepest understanding of their customers, and build successful customer-acquisition strategies as their priorities suggest.”

“Achieving a Single Customer View is a key step in the right direction but fully optimised and consistent cross-channel engagement 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 of Experian Marketing Services UK. “It takes entire companies working together to get a better understanding of their customers 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 identified several top barriers to achieving a fully integrated cross-channel marketing approach – no Single Customer View (32%), companies’ current technology (31%) and organisational structure of the business (31%) came out on top.

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%) of UK respondents saying this was their top challenge, beating organisational structure (33%) and the company’s current technology (32%) into second and third.
  • UK marketers are more likely to believe they understand customer behaviour and have a clear roadmap toward cross-channel success (with only 21% and 20% respectively identifying these as challenges) compared to the global average of 25% apiece. 


  • The picture is very different to the UK. In Spain, only 17% of respondents reported the same issue with linkage, and the major problem was instead identified as the company’s current technology, with a high proportion (42%) agreeing that it held them back.
  • French marketers follow a similar pattern, and are also more confident with their grasp of linkage, with 24% flagging it as an issue. Again, technology (38%) is the most pressing concern for French respondents. 

North America:

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


  • In Japan, marketers are apparently much more confident in their technology, with only 9% reporting this as an issue. Instead, 44% struggle to link data to create an SCV.
  • Meanwhile, respondents from Australia and New Zealand identify technology as the largest single challenge to their cross channel strategy (35%).

The full 2015 Digital Marketer Report can be downloaded from the Experian website here along with an infographic on the key findings.




Nick Jones

Head of PR, Experian Marketing Services

07583 297082


Suzanne Blackburn

PR Manager

1 212 863 4648

About Experian

We are the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to our clients around the world. We help businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. We also help people to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.  In 2014, we were named by Forbes magazine as one of the ‘World’s Most Innovative Companies’.

We employ approximately 17,000 people in 39 countries and our corporate headquarters are in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended March 31, 2015, was US$4.8 billion.

To find out more about our company, please visit or watch our documentary, ‘Inside Experian’.