If data is the new oil, it’s rocket fuel in marketing. Companies that have access to rich, live data and deep data analysis expertise, and use it in the right way, do enjoy disproportionate benefits. These are the firms that dominate their sectors, such as Amazon which has 128% more revenue than the combined total of world’s next 9 biggest e-commerce platforms. Data is clearly not the only driver of Amazon’s success, but it’s a well-documented factor.
But not everyone succeeds. Why?
Mastering data and data-driven decision making is not a piece of cake, of course. On the other hand – it is quite easy to get started, as the market offers a plethora of Marketing Data tools. However, this abundance brings challenges. The primary one is that no single provider offers a perfect solution.
The numbers confirm
- Only 26% of global marketers are confident in their audience data, and 36% of them say it is very or extremely difficult to access data, resolve identity issues and draw conclusions from data
(Nielsen’s 2022 Annual Marketing Report, The Era of Alignment)
- 37% of marketers waste marketing spend as a result of poor marketing/media data quality
(Forrester’s “Why Marketers Can’t Ignore Data Quality” report)
5 issues Marketing Data Technology fall short
The above figures confirm that despite the availability of Marketing Data Technology tools, marketers still struggle to effectively use data to make accurate decisions.
Why is this the case?
To answer this question, we surveyed the market. Of course – on a much smaller scale than Nielsen and Forrester. We conducted numerous, structured interviews with marketers asking them questions about problems and challenges in their daily work. Here’s a breakdown of the key lessons we learnt.
Hard to learn
The best SaaS tools demand a long, steep learning curve. The more powerful the tool, the longer it takes to master. This creates an unwanted delay between deploying a SaaS tool and benefitting from meaningful insights, and many companies don’t have the luxury to wait.
Hard to use
Marketing Data tools’ users often say it’s a messy, long process to collect, standardise and analyse data.
As a result, insights are not based on real-time data, or even particularly recent data. Insights generated from historical, rather than live data, can be stale and could mean that in-the-moment opportunities are missed.
Marketers can seldom access all data covering the whole marketing mix, on one platform
For instance, if a social media campaign yields unexpectedly good results, it’s often difficult to analyse, what caused those results and how other marketing activities (e.g., TV) might have impacted this outcome.
Marketing budgets cover both digital and traditional channels, and so should a Marketing Data Technology platform. It’s important to see, in detail, how each campaign impacted goals and sales, and how they interrelate.
Not flexible enough, and not enough granularity
By nature, many SaaS tools have a cookie-cutter approach: they don’t flex to allow marketers to view and analyse data from many different perspectives. And so, marketers fail to get clear, valuable, actionable insights.
Marketers want the granularity to zoom into a single customer’s complete buyer journey, with every single touchpoint that customer has made across all platforms. This functionality isn’t yet widely available.
With no easy way to see a detailed customer journey, marketers can’t be fully confident of their attribution models.
You can’t trust the data 100%
Despite SaaS technology providing lots of data integrations, many marketers feel the integrations are a bit shaky, meaning data may not be properly standardised.
Moreover, integrations updates are often slower than the pace of connected 3rd party app updates. This may lead to gaps in data, meaning conclusions from data analysis can’t be fully trusted.
Not enough support from marketing data subject matter experts
Many SaaS platforms boast fantastic customer support. However, the support is often functionality centric (the “what” and “how”) rather than what users want, which is Marketing Data subject matter expertise (the “why”). Quality value-add support would help with strategic direction and guidance on best practice.
As a result, many marketers are left to figure out how to best apply a tool’s functionality to their business.
5 things you have to do to be successful
Our findings helped us create a blueprint of what companies should do to make their marketing data add value:
- Collect all data, even the data you don’t yet know how to interrogate, as it may become useful in the future when you can interrogate it.
- Enrich your data with information unavailable in IT systems, including traditional media campaigns and unexpected events that may have affected campaigns.
- Standardise data to enable uniform analysis no matter the data origin. Describe your campaigns with your own tags to allow for effective comparative analysis. An example of this might be to compare how effective different creative ideas are, communicated in different media.
- Zoom in and out from trends to detail and back again. This allows you to get insights not only from expected baselines, but also learn from outliers that you can only see and understand by analysing the data to a granular level.
- Visualise data with intuitive flexible data visualisation tools, that lead to insights, and help you communicate these insights to your leadership teams.
- Have a platform to test your hypotheses easily and precisely from your insights and trusted data. Accurately track and compare A/B test results and build an evidence-based strategy you can trust.
The frustrations people have with existing SaaS solutions can be removed, but marketers need a Marketing Data Analysis product that is fundamentally different to anything widely available today.
We are working hard to deliver this in C&F while you are reading this text.
Here is our product (Prototype stage) framework:
- Onboard each user individually with the aim that each marketer gets a customised solution that generates the exact business impact they are looking for.
- Capture all data covering the whole marketing mix, on one platform
- Ensure all data is trusted. Collecting, cleaning, and standardising real-time data of all marketing activities across all online channels, business units, campaigns, and platforms, without the need for marketers to have deep technical know-how.
- Offer enriched analysis by allowing users to add and integrate related data. This could be sales data or ATL, non-digital campaign data, that combined with the core dataset, will help you understand the real effectiveness of your marketing mix.
- Provide bespoke, relevant, mission-critical dashboards that help organizations learn, communicate, optimize, and report horizontally and vertically in real time without users investing time, technology, or manpower to do so.
- Offer unrivalled outcome focussed support because we will strive to understand each company’s business and marketing priorities.
Help make a platform that solves your issues
We don’t yet have a commercial product, but we are planning to deliver in 2023.
If you are a marketer and dream of a Marketing Data tool that:
- Provides good marketing data analysis achievable with no coding or knowledge about reporting tools and configurations,
- Provides insights equally accessible to advanced analysts, digital marketers, or business stakeholders …let’s be in touch. If you would like to learn more about what we’re building, and test it, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org