Four fifths of retail marketers consider personalization important to both improving revenue and CX, yet a quarter can’t access the data needed to personalize

Indianapolis, US, 2021 — Four-fifths (85%) of retail marketers consider personalization important to driving both increased revenue and better customer experiences (CX), despite a quarter (24%) being unable to act on their existing customer data. That’s according to a new “Retail Roadblocks” report, released today by customer engagement platform Emarsys

The study which supports Emarsys’ mission to give back “Power to the Marketer” spoke to over 500 marketers at global retail brands to identify the obstacles facing retail personalization in 2022. With almost a third (29%) responsible for CX, CRM, digital marketing, branding, customer acquisition and customer retention, many are stretched thinner than ever before. They’re required to deliver more sophisticated work, across a broader spectrum, in the same or less time, meaning it’s never been harder to be a marketer.

As such, it’s no surprise that time consuming technical issues dominated the list of concerns. The data reveals that an inability to scale content is hampering a third of retail marketers (33%), while 30% say they are lacking the ability to segment by behavior and purchases — a must-have for effective personalization. 22% also state that data silos are limiting their ability to personalize.

It’s also evident that marketers are feeling the negative effects of legacy tech infrastructure. One fifth of retail marketers saying their current martech stack isn’t fit for purpose, with over a quarter (29%) citing poor technology integration as a barrier to personalization. 42% are devoting more time to preparing and segmenting data than doing anything else, wrestling infrastructures and data just to be able to get on with the job.

To free up more of their time and break through the barriers holding them back, almost half (48%) of marketers at retail brands will be investing in more web personalization technologies in the next 12 months. With two-thirds (67%) wanting to spend more time improving personalized product recommendations, and 91% needing more time to get to know customers as people, marketers are turning to technology to buy back time and improve their personalization capabilities.

Commenting on the need for investment, Joanna Milliken, new CEO of Emarsys says:

“As the world of retail evolves, new channels appear, and customer expectations change, marketers are taking on more and more responsibility for the success of their business. This also means that they’re under more pressure than ever before.

“Not only is personalization now seen as crucial to business success, demanding more sophisticated marketing tactics and technologies, but marketers are also taking on more responsibility in customer acquisition, experience, and retention. Budgets aren’t necessarily extended to accommodate this — in fact, Gartner suggests they’re at an all-time low!

“As a result, far too many marketers are caught up in processes, buried in unactionable data, and stretched beyond their limits due to legacy technologies — through no fault of their own. They’re also being forced to adapt to a data landscape that prioritizes first-party data — where, again, the digital infrastructure to ensure that they succeed isn’t always there.

“This gauntlet of roadblocks — strategy, budgets, people and tech — isn’t going anywhere. Marketers can’t rise to the occasion without the technologies needed to empower them. In turn, this can help them to focus on real outcomes, for their end customers, their business and even their own careers”

To learn more about Emarsys’ Power to the Marketer initiative, or to download the full “Retail Roadblocks” report, visit