Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes courtesy of Greg Dorban, Head of Inbound Marketing at Ledger Bennett, a specialist B2B agency. In his role, Dorban manages demand generation strategies to assist companies in creating more opportunities for their sales pipelines.
One of the biggest challenges facing modern marketers is the data management. On one hand, we open up an array of never seen before opportunities with the concept of big data — but on the other hand — we are challenged with managing, interpreting, and actually utilising this ever growing, diverse information.
To compound this problem, organisations structured with a centralised marketing function have to work with varying degrees of maturity of CRM and database infrastructure — from fully functional real-time supply chain integrated to isolated databases — and even legacy Excel files. The digital evolution white paper exposed this to be a leading pain for C-Level professionals to overcome, especially as they are commonly without a standardised platform and structure across regions.
Is Your Data Foundation For a House or Tent?
Whilst you should always build your house from the ground up, life in multi-national organisations is not this simple. Not all homes were built at the same time, not all areas have the same infrastructure or standard connections. Marketing automation provides a powerful resource. It can be a catalyst to drive standardisation in the foundations upwards (which in this case is data structure, CRM and systems) or have the effect of a tent (something that has taken shape before being pegged into the ground) resulting in the structure filtering down from top to bottom. In order to utilise the platform, all sources must be mapped and as a result, commonality must be found and consistency distributed across regions, systems and sources.
In reality the problem is not just cross borders, but within domestic markets. Having multiple agency suppliers along with in-house execution capabilities of marketing activity usually result in various repositories for behaviour related data. How is this utilised and evaluated between different activities? Now factor in interpretation of buying behaviour and purchase history from a different source, and potential touches from sales or business development held in the CRM? Within a Marketing automation platform all of these inputs can be fed together, analysed and acted upon as required.
Gartner found that over half of all data analytics are still based upon internal sources, which does not necessarily embrace Big Data but continues to view data in a traditional manner. Embracing Big Data opens up using Digital Body Language as a source of segmentation, insight, triggered communications and enhanced customisation. The value this offers the business is helping to minimise the limitation of disparate data with the ability to action data collected from web behaviour and interaction. The use of Digital Body Language evolves company culture to look for different opportunities to understand audience, reducing the dependency on internal data.
With the power to often measure and monitor everything, marketers commonly do so. As a result, the amount of data is doubling every two years only adding to the big data store pile. I would question that lots of data is measured to report on activity that has happened, and not on insight that will influence a decision or drive an action in the future. Marketing automation enables optimisation and refinement of programmes in real-time. This changes the viewpoint from measuring and reporting on everything, to focusing on what to do differently to improve performance. Metrics are not collected for metrics sake; information is collected to provide insight that is specific and actionable.
There is no silver bullet; no one size fits all; no simple fix to overcome the ever- growing big data challenge. Marketing automation does offer a common single platform that can utilise information from many sources, drive data standardisation and gain focus efforts on collecting data that actually offers value and actionable insight. With the growing requirement for modern marketers to become more analytically focused in the digital data driven world, marketing Automation helps simplify management and application.
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