Despite 90 percent of marketers claiming they are “customer centric” in their approach, only 17 percent feel valued by brands.

That’s according to a new report from experience management leaders Qualtrics, which highlights how marketers can create a competitive advantage by adding a new layer of data that tells them not just what happened, but why.

The Qualtrics research, based on insights from 250 marketing professionals and 250 consumers, reveals a clear gap between the experiences that marketers are delivering and what today’s customers expect.

While 81 percent of marketers agree it is extremely important to understand their customers, only 46 percent of consumers say they are understood by the brands they usually buy from, and only 60 percent say brands put the customer first.

Almost two-thirds of marketers (64 percent) say they are being held back when it comes to developing customer insights. A lack of time and budgetary constraints are the primary reasons, but 51 percent also said they did not know what they were looking for when it came to analysing customer feedback, data, and trends.

Qualtrics suggests this inability to understand customers is due to an over reliance on “operational data” – data that states what consumers have done in the past. Instead, Qualtrics argues that brands must supplement their existing data with “experience data” and identify trends that explain why consumers act in the way they do.

Qualtrics’ report highlights the importance of marketers thinking beyond traditional data analysis to help close the experience gap, as Caroline Mogford, Marketing Director for Qualtrics EMEA, explains:

The most successful marketers are adding a layer of insight to their data. They’re thinking not just about what happened in the past, but about why it happened. It’s this additional layer of context – the ‘Experience Data’ – that’s providing the real competitive advantage for today’s brands.

By thinking in these terms, marketers can provide an experience that not only meets, but exceeds expectations. The secret for today’s marketers isn’t more data, it’s a different kind of data.”

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