ANA_Solo_Logo_Green_RGBThe recent special report from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) is titled 2014 Insights and Marketers’ Top Concerns for 2015, and it’s loaded with insights about how marketers are adjusting to changes in the customer journey.

Most striking to me, the ANA makes the point that even though the traditional marketing model is being bombarded with a variety of disruptive forces, most marketers can’t respond simply because they can’t break free from legacy shackles.

Does this ring true for you? Is your organization struggling to rise to the challenge of omnichannel marketing?

If so, please read on. Here is the ANA’s list of the most disruptive forces and what I see as the path forward:

Disruptive force: A fractured customer experience. Continuously evolving customer expectations are a major disruptive force, but as the ANA explains, marketing is still limited in its ability to shape the entire experience.

Your way forward: Individualized insights. When you use individualized insights, you can improve the customer experience with meaningful interactions based on what your customers truly want and need. More and more marketers are realizing the value of this kind of approach. In fact, in Teradata’s 2015 Global Data-Driven Marketing Survey, 90 percent of marketers said that making their marketing individualized is a priority. What’s more, the number of companies where data driven marketing is either embedded or strategic has more than doubled since we first started studying data-driven marketing trends about 18 months ago. 78 percent of marketers now use data systematically; in 2013, only 36 percent did.

Disruptive force: Content primacy without strategy and operations. The ANA report concludes that brands are confronting a seemingly insatiable demand for fresh content and acquiring the talent to manage it, but they struggle with creating formal content strategies.

Your way forward: Tailored content and delivery. When content and delivery are tailored based on customer data insights, you create relevant interactions. It’s about moving beyond segmentation to true one-to-one individualization in a real-time context. For a real-world example of how this can work, see this earlier post about a new add-on feature within Teradata Digital Marketing Center that can help you start using Facebook advertising more effectively.

Disruptive force: The disconnect between leadership and the front line. The ANA found that even though marketers overwhelmingly agree on the impor­tance of test-and-learn methods as a response to disruptive forces, they aren’t putting in place the agile processes to make experimentation a core competency.

Your way forward: Resolve misperceptions. Earlier this year, Teradata conducted research in partnership with The Economist Intelligence Unit, and the results were very similar to those in the ANA report. Essentially, our study showed that cultural gaps impede companies’ efforts to be data-driven and that CEOs need to remove their rose-colored glasses in order to start developing a shared data-driven vision, one that’s based on insights about the information and experience each customer wants.

Disruptive force: Hiring talent, but not managing it. According to the ANA, bringing on new talent is one of the most important strategies for dealing with disruptions (91 percent), essentially as important as investing in new technology. But are companies doing enough to nurture and accommodate dramatically changing skill sets?

Your way forward: Teradata Strategic Services. Teradata Strategic Services provide you with training, data-driven analytics tools, transformative tactics and unmatched expertise that empower your marketing organization to drive growth by improving the customer experience and maximizing your investment in data.

Disruptive force: Making decisions without data. Lastly, the ANA found that there’s a gap between those who acknowledge the disruptions caused by the complex­ity and fragmentation of marketing (80 percent) and those who are increasing investment in response to this disruption (67 percent).

Your way forward: Tear down silos. Last year, Teradata and Forbes Insights published a research paper and infographic that address issues related to breaking down silos in marketing organizations. This research revealed that marketers feel the best way to collaborate with other functions is to set up integrated processes –what Forbes Insights calls “forcing integration.” Put another way, you need to adopt an integrated marketing approach. You need to put processes in place to knock down the old silos and keep new ones (think social media, content marketing, digital marketing, etc.) from cropping up . . . and the sooner, the better.

So that’s how the ANA and I see things. Please leave a comment below and tell me if you agree. What disruptive forces are you battling? How are you breaking free of legacy shackles and rising to the challenge?