Marketer: master of your domain?

In 2015, an expected 87.9 billion consumer emails will be sent and received each day. Who said people are reading less? Maybe people are just so exhausted after reading emails all day that they want to go comatose in front of the T.V., and picking up a book or newspaper is as desirable as cleaning out an inbox after vacation.

Considering the colossal amount of emails we have to sort through, how are your messages going to be heard? Let me answer that rhetorical question: personalization.

In 2015, personalization, account based marketing, dynamic pages, and other tailoring methods have been top of mind for organizations seeking to improve the customer experience. What I’m seeing is that once organizations deploy technology to help create inefficiencies with respect to communicating, they’re missing a critical component. This is where the data comes in.

You have issues…

Speaking candidly, marketers have a data issue. That means that they’re not getting the maximum return on their marketing technology investments.

  • According to eMarketer, recent research from VB Insight showed that most companies are using only a small fraction of available data for personalization.
  • While some companies struggle with data collection, that’s not the problem for most. The overwhelming majority (96 percent according to the VB Insight study) cannot unify the data they have. Most companies, a full 60% according to research by Signal cited in the eMarketer article, can’t “personalize customer experiences the way they wanted to due to fragmented data/profiles.” That’s a big problem.

Why is this? Check out this video that helps explain why access to data has become a major hindrance on delivering personalized experiences.

Marketers: Are you the Master of your Data Management Domain?

Most likely, the data you have is spread across multiple systems and databases. Statistically speaking, your company is likely part of the 96 percent of companies mentioned above that have not unified these disconnected data sources into a single data layer. That implies that master data management (MDM), linking all data sources into a single source, is seen by most companies as being either too difficult and/or too expensive to achieve. The good news for you is that it’s not and it’s not.

Marketers need to integrate the platforms and applications they use to gain access to more and cleaner data. When integration is successful, campaigns are more personalized and the ROI can be effectively measured. Integration without strong data governance, and the bad data that can come of it, are marketers’ biggest obstacles to success.

The main objectives of the data-driven marketer (modern marketer) are to increase and measure campaign ROI. To achieve this, the best marketers will be focused on the following:

  • Connecting disconnected marketing applications to gain a complete view of their customer
    • This extends to social, advertising, mobile, content marketing, etc.
  • Integrating data and driving visibility across sales, marketing, and service.
  • Strengthening their partnership with IT to promote system governance and ongoing innovation
    • This is the convergence of the art and the science of marketing

To that last point, six out of ten marketers cite poor or inconsistent data quality, or lack of data, as their biggest challenge to producing personalized campaigns. Leading marketers are partnering with IT, the traditional leaders in governance, to establish a mature data governance strategy.

CMOs should partner with CIOs to tackle bad data. I understand that this is like asking the Mac guy to become friends with the PC guy, but it’s the best way to get clean, accurate data, enabling marketers to focus on the messaging strategy and creative campaigns.

For companies striving for clean data, taking steps toward establishing a data governance strategy will set the foundation for success. You don’t need to be a calculus whiz either. Here are some things to think about:

  • Constrain data input.
    • Sometimes less is more
  • Standardize what users can enter into CRM.
    • This will make segmentation a breeze
  • Integrate the right data, not the most data.
    • Bigger Data isn’t always better – quality over quantity
  • Pinpoint the desired outcome of a campaign and find the most relevant data sources to support it.
  • Reducing bad data is only half the battle. The other half is keeping it up-to-date. Trusted third-party data sources that consistently update customer information can reduce the manual burden on employees and limit errors.
    • Sure, you can pay a 3rd party to clean up your data, but what happens in a year from now when the data is dirty again? Wouldn’t it be great to have a tool that constantly cleanses, de-duplicates, and updates the data?

Some marketers were tricked into believing that a cloud CRM tool, designed 15 years ago, could be the engine that powered marketing personalization, but simple SFA tools aren’t enough to create personalized marketing interactions today. Unless you have a modern CRM tool that has robust data management capabilities, or a MDM solution, you, Mr. or Mrs. Marketer, are not the Master of your (Data Management) Domain.


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