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Swiss Marketing Leadership Study 2018

October 22, 2018

The growing importance of – and need for – data competence

This year's Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) study shows that data analysis is becoming centrally important in a number of marketing areas, from CRM to product management. The problem is that although companies understand that data is key, their data is not necessarily available to them in ways that make it easy to use. 

The Swiss Marketing Leadership Study 2018 focused on the theme of "Speed vs. Consistency," examining the (expected) effects of digital transformation on Swiss companies. It shows just how profound those effects are on different areas of management and marketing. It also reveals that data collection and processing are a particular challenge for many companies. Here are some of the key findings of the study.

  • Only a few companies have truly modern, comprehensive Customer Relationship Management (CRM). At most companies, the current CRM often fails due to a lack of data availability. Even so, companies acknowledge the need for data-based marketing and profess a willingness to invest in CRM. In fact, three-quarters of all companies intend to invest in such systems.
  • Despite (or perhaps because of) digitalization, personal contact with customers is becoming more and more important. Today's marketing is essentially about emotionalizing customer relationships, i.e. creating real customer experiences.
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  • The companies surveyed were particularly divided when asked to choose between speed and durability, which was the focus of this year's study. According to the survey, a narrow majority places more emphasis on durability. Even in today's technologically advanced, fast-moving world, companies generally attach great importance to the stability and constancy of a brand. Employees play an important role in the identity of a brand. 
  • Product management is also subject to major change. On the one hand, product requirements are becoming increasingly complex. On the other hand, data from all phases of the product lifecycle opens up opportunities for innovation – if collected and analyzed. As with CRM, there is an awareness of the necessity of data-driven action, but implementation is still a problem. Only one-fifth of the companies surveyed own Smart Connected Products in order to collect evaluable data from the lifecycle phases. 

In "Learning to learn! What you need to pay attention to in data-based marketing projects," Robert Schumacher, Director at gateB and lecturer at the ZHAW, explains the reasons why an iterative approach is the right one for these projects. Companies can find greater succes with data-based projects when they continuously test, measure, and learn, following the motto: think big, start small, grow fast. 

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