Gartner Survey Finds Brands Fail to Achieve 360 View of Customer

A conceptual rendering of the martech stack
Feb 07, 2022
Jeff Haws

Ask any marketing leader, and they’ll tout the value of having a 360-degree view of their customers. It’s a huge advantage for the brands that can actually reach that point, with a single source of truth for all their customer data that automatically incorporates all touchpoints so that there are no blind spots for the marketing team when they build campaigns.

As much as marketers talk about it, though, it’s an incredibly challenging goal to reach. That’s especially true if your enterprise organization hasn’t invested in tools that are centered around data, and struggles to move quickly enough to change direction. A recent study by Gartner Marketing looked deeply into the 360 View and how effectively organizations are getting there.

The 360 customer view is elusive

There’s no doubt that the organizations that have established this full 360 view of the customer are benefiting greatly from the work it took to get there. They’re able to send better tailored, more timely campaigns across various channels, consistently delivering a more satisfying customer experience and increasing brand engagement.

But Gartner’s findings around this weren’t at all surprising: the 360 customer view is very elusive, even for modern brands. According to their survey, just 14% of organizations have achieved this 360 view, while 82% said they still aspire to get there. Not only does that mean that fewer than 1 in 5 organizations have been able to successfully incorporate all their customer data in a way that’s fully actionable across all channels, but also that virtually every organization wants to do this. A full 96% said they’ve either done it already, or they aspire to. They either just don’t know how, or they haven’t been able to shepherd the resources yet to get it done.

So, there’s near-universal agreement among marketers that this needs to happen. How, though? There’s one common route a lot of teams take to try. And it’s one Gartner found to be less useful than many expect.

CDPs are no magic solution

Do a quick Google search and you’ll see that CDPs are clearly well aware of the desire to get a 360 view of the customer, as a lot of them market themselves as a solution to this specific problem. “Get a 360 Degree Customer View with a CDP,” you’ll see right near the top of the search results. And why shouldn’t they? CDPs help you consolidate your data and make it more useful, right? Seems like that’s precisely what you need.

But Gartner found that acquiring a CDP was not by itself sufficient, given that three times as many respondents had adopted a CDP as had actually achieved a 360-degree view of their customer. A further obstacle to reaching that point was that a whole lot of organizations didn’t even have broad agreement within their companies on what constituted success. While 60% of respondents said they need every data point possible in order to achieve a 360 view of the customer, nearly half of respondents didn’t have a shared organizational understanding of what was actually needed.

So, in the absence of clarity, it’s probably no surprise that the CDP ends up being the hoped-for magical solution for many organizations. And let’s not suggest that CDPs are useless or can’t get you closer to that 360 view. With many CDPs, their capabilities are quite compatible with this goal. But many obstacles still stand in the way for many organizations, and it’s important you understand what those are in order to make progress.

Perhaps the most common obstacle is brands’ inability to directly access their data for putting it to use. CDPs can make your data more performant, but you still need a bridge to get to it, and most ESPs force you to make copies of that data to send to their cloud in order to use it. Connecting directly to it is one of the biggest steps you can take to get that 360 view.

How to get there

According to Gartner, there are three main traits of organizations that have achieved a 360 view of the customer. What did they do?

Created a consensus on what a 360-degree view means

This is key. Organizationally, if you can’t agree on where you’re supposed to be going, it’s pretty clear that you’ll never get there. Across all the stakeholder teams, it’s essential that you get together and define both the strategy and the objectives with respect to the 360 view of the customer so that you can agree on when you’ve reached that point.

Overcame data quality issues

This one can mean a number of things. Your data could be siloed to the point that different departments have different data sets that they consider to be reliable and trustworthy, so people aren’t pulling from the same place. You could have issues with identity resolution or duplicate data or data that hasn’t been updated in too long. Or you might just not have direct access to the data you do have, making it out of date and far less useful when you’re using it. Investing in the right tools and team resources to clean up your data quality and access will pay dividends.

Implemented a cross-functional governance structure for customer data

And we might add, not just implemented but documented and communicated widely. Responsibilities with respect to data governance should be clearly laid out in the document, and you should establish backups and redundancies where possible. Without a thoughtful, agreed-upon governance structure across the whole of the organization, you’ll be asking for major problems. That sort of lack of cohesiveness can even be the cause of some of the problems above. Everyone needs to be on the same page.


Everyone wants to get to the point of having a 360-degree view of their customers, but few organizations are going to get there, for a variety of reasons. The bottom line is that it’s hard. But if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Follow some of the steps laid out above, and you’ll have a good chance of getting there, though. If you’d like to know how MessageGears can help you make the journey, reach out. We’d love to talk about it.

About the Author

Jeff Haws

As MessageGears’ Senior Marketing Manager, Jeff is focused on producing engaging and thoughtful content that resonates with enterprise marketers, helping them to better understand how MessageGears makes their jobs easier. He’s passionate about understanding the way data impacts messaging, and he’s also hopelessly obsessed with baseball.