Marketers have plenty of data on hand. Their challenge is in transforming it into actionable insights to reliably anticipate and predict what’s ahead and then prepare for it. That’s the finding from The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council’s new study, “Predicting Routes To Revenue,” which revealed that only five percent of marketers say they have mastered the ability to adapt and predict the customer journey and what actions will derive maximum value.

The CMO Council’s study is based on insights from more than 150 senior marketing executives surveyed primarily across North America and Europe during the fourth quarter of 2015 and was conducted in partnership with Pegasystems, a provider of strategic business applications. Fifty-six percent of respondents hail from organizations with more than $1 billion in revenue, and 29 percent hold titles of CMO or senior vice president of marketing.

Personalization has become a key driver for marketers, but it requires shifting data’s role in their work from a tool to calculate past performance metrics to one that uncovers new, real-time insights into customer behavior. The survey found that while 23 percent of marketers are able to develop predictive insights into broad customer trends, another 20 percent feel they are only able to predict the next best action and struggle to move beyond that first step.

The survey results indicate that a key factor behind this hurdle is a misalignment of data sources. Forty-eight percent indicate that data is collected and analyzed but remains separate and is not well aligned. Only three percent say their current data sources are integrated and totally aligned, delivering a comprehensive 360-degree view of the customer.

“Marketers have the right intentions, working to deliver rich, personalized and relevant engagements across an increasing number of channels, but there are still a number of roadblocks preventing us from maximizing efforts in this area,” says Liz Miller, senior vice president of marketing with the CMO Council. “Personalization isn’t a question of using a customer’s name in an email subject line. Personalizing the customer experience demands that we harness the data that is collected across the organization, and immediately transform that into something that is actionable and resonates with the customer and their preferences. If personalization remains a way to add a few interesting indicators to a momentary campaign, we will fail in fully optimizing the revenue potential of each individual customer.”

The top sources of insights into customers, prospects and markets include visits to the corporate website (74 percent), sales data and CRM-based customer records (68 percent), and customer satisfaction surveys (57 percent).

“The sheer volume of customer data available to marketers today is both a blessing and a curse,” said Robert Tas, CMO of Pegasystems. “As customer expectations rise when they reveal more about themselves, most organizations aren’t equipped to reciprocate by providing a better, more personalized experience. By deploying real-time analytics to turn this data into actionable insights, organizations can predict customer needs and quickly adjust as those needs change to provide superior experiences at every interaction.”

More on the survey can be found here.