Significant increase in customer personalisation budgets despite lag in capabilities: study

| May 3, 2019

While marketing leaders and C-level executives clearly recognise the importance of personalisation, the majority appear to overestimate their current capabilities, according to a global study.

In partnership with digital experience management software Sitecore SoDA has released The SoDA Report On… Global Trends in Personalisation, highlighting challenges and opportunities for global business leaders in digital experience personalisation.

The findings revealed that 83% of marketing leaders and C-level executives increased their investments in personalization efforts for 2019 with 32% pointing to a “significant budget increase” this year.

In this latest Report, SoDA and Sitecore explore the evolution of digital personalization and examine the strategies and tools required to produce the most effective consumer experience.

When deployed effectively, personalisation enhances customers’ lives and increases engagement and loyalty by delivering messages that are tuned to and even anticipate what customers really want.

When it comes to digital experience personalisation, 67% of global leaders rate their organizations as “Masters” or “Experts” with robust and advanced levels of personalization capabilities. However, while rating themselves highly in terms of organizational maturity, less than 40% are currently utilizing even the most basic targeting criteria for personalization.

SoDA Executive Director Tom Beck said there’s no doubt that digital experience personalisation is a growing priority for marketing leaders and C-level executives across the globe.

“While our data shows increased spending to improve capabilities, the majority of organizations still point to constrained budgets, limitations with their technology platform, and challenges with their data as some of the biggest barriers hindering their progress. It’s also worth noting that more than half of all organisations lack an adequate strategic roadmap and investment plan for their personalisation capabilities.

“There’s nothing scarier for me as a marketer than the idea that personalization budgets are increasing, but marketers are overestimating their current capabilities and underestimating what it takes to truly master personalization,” said Paige O’Neill, chief marketing officer at Sitecore. “Despite the fact that over a third of marketers see digital experience as a major competitive advantage, most are struggling to leverage crucial personalization techniques, from basic targeting to AI capabilities. Without building a solid internal architecture and tapping external resources like Sitecore’s leading platform, opportunities, and, ultimately, return on the investments will be lost.”

The findings of the research highlight this and other key issues that both agency leaders and brand marketers face, while delivering valuable insight into the current state, as well as future trends, of digital personalization. In addition to the in-depth research component and summation, the Report includes original articles providing crucial guidance on overcoming personalization barriers by industry leaders from Microsoft, Perficient Digital, Dept, Deepend, Sitecore, and more. Finally, the report also provides readers a deep-dive into investment priorities, content production, data practices, and budget allocation.

Notably, the research also found that the focus on personalization is universal: the importance of digital experience personalization and plans for increased investments varied little across geographic regions, leadership roles, and size of digital budget, indicating that personalization is a consistent, global priority.

To learn more about global trends in personalisation, download the full report on