You may be painfully aware of what disjointed data can do to a marketing initiative. If you’re in a company of any size at all, you’re probably struggling with integrating multiple databases housed in different locations throughout the enterprise. How can you present consistent messaging when the mechanics of a campaign are vulnerable to disjointed data?

Data-centricity within the organization should be a primary objective, but it’s often met with operational roadblocks as well as ownership issues that stall progress. A study conducted by the Winterberry Group entitled “The Data-Centric Organization 2018” polled advertising, marketing, media, information and technology industry leaders about the state of data in their organizations. The study findings show that marketing, media and commerce are earnestly focused on centralizing marketing data and understand potential impediments. Drilling down into the results, the survey reports the following:

• 90.1% of survey respondents said they either have or are planning to develop an enterprise strategy to support the use of audience data.

• Only 9.8% of respondents described their organizations as “extremely” data-driven today; more than 44% said they expect to achieve that level of sophistication by 2019.

• 1.3% of panelists said they were “extremely confident” their organizations have the right expertise, skills and experience needed to derive value from data (down from 5.2% in 2016).

• More than 87% of panelists said that data analytics is the competency their organization needs most to advance their data usage.

Clearly, there is recognition of the value of centralized data, but very few companies have the skill sets or expertise to get there. This is more than disheartening for marketers who rely on data-driven campaigns and the resulting analytics.

Why centralize data?

Centralized data is the only path to a data-driven culture. It’s that simple. Data is a dynamic asset and marketers especially rely on its accuracy to run effective programs and move the dial on sales. Unfortunately, many marketers find themselves handicapped by segmented data and incomplete analytics. It’s hard to maximize marketing ROI with these limitations.

Centralizing marketing data will improve efforts and results for the marketing organization:

• Centralization creates better reporting time. It’s time-consuming to constantly update spreadsheets to report program status which are, in most cases, not representative of the full version of the truth. An automated, centralized approach frees up marketers from task-oriented data cleaning for more creative and strategic work.

• Centralized data is easier on marketing budgets. When a business runs on a data-centric model, it’s easier and quicker to pinpoint initiatives that aren’t producing results. Course corrections can alter the path of a program by targeting and revising tactics for cost-effectiveness. McKinsey & Company reports that having proper analytics can save 15-30% of an annual marketing budget.

• Data-centricity promotes better collaboration. When data centralization is the working model, various organizations in the company are compelled to collaborate, resulting in benefits for the business. This simplification of data will also improve the customer journey as approved brand messaging will be released appropriately. Customers will appreciate better targeted messaging and offers based on where they are in their journey with you.

• Centralization of data makes it easier to prove ROI. In many organizations, marketing is still viewed as a cost center and executives are less than impressed when the marketing team can’t provide accurate answers because they have too many data sources to check. Centralizing data will improve not only ROI but also perceptions of the marketing organization within the enterprise.

Who owns the data?

One of the issues surrounding centralized data is determining who owns it. Does it belong to the client or the agency managing the work? Another complication is that different organizations use multiple vendors such as data management platforms, demand-side platforms, data lakes and ad verification companies. Using multiple programs is very time consuming and the inefficiencies don’t benefit the company or the agency.

A siloed martech stack makes it hard to reach your customers with the right message. How do you take these great vendors and cool tools to help build that 360-degree customer profile?

It’s about the brand.

Working toward centralized marketing data allows organizations to take advantage of technology and opportunities to grow their business. When customer data is consolidated and integrated, processes are more efficient and resources can be directed more appropriately. Analytics can be reviewed in real time with a single version of the truth driving campaigns. It’s a huge win for saving time and money for the business.

And as important as ROI is, there’s an even bigger benefit to being able to effectively drive segmentation and alignment of customer messages. Better insight will result in smart campaigns, customer loyalty and profits.


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