What CIOs Need to Know About Marketing’s Data Needs

Loraine Lawson
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Five Tips to Improve Your Data Analysis

CIOs who want to stay relevant may want to pay attention to what’s going on with data in the marketing department.

Marketing is fast becoming one of the major business consumers of data. And this department is often discontent with the state of its data quality, access and depth, research released by Yesmail Interactive shows.

On behalf of Yesmail, analyst firm Gleanster surveyed 100 senior-level marketers at companies with online and offline sales models and $10 million to more than $1 billion in revenues.

The resulting report, “Customer Lifecycle Engagement: Imperatives for mid-to-large companies," (link requires sign up) shows many midsize and large B2C “marketers lack the data and technology they need for more effective segmentation.”

For instance:

  • 86 percent of marketers say they could generate more revenue from customers if they had access to a more complete picture of customer attributes.
  • 34 percent cited both poor data quality and fragmented systems as among the most significant barriers to personalized customer communications.
  • On a similar note, only 46 percent were satisfied with data quality.
  • 48 percent were satisfied with their web analytics integration.
  • 47 percent were satisfied with their customer data integration.
  • 41 percent of marketers incorporate web browsing and online behavior data in targeting criteria—although one-third said they plan to leverage this source in the future.
  • Only 20 percent augment in-house customer data with third-party data at the customer level.
  • Only 24 percent augment customer data at an aggregate level (such as the industry or region.) Compare that to 58 percent who say they either purchase or plan to purchase third-party data to augment customer records, primarily to “validate data integrity.”

That may read like mixed results, but the study shows that overall, not even half of the marketers were satisfied with their data capabilities.

Indeed, the paper notes a disconnect between where marketers say they are now and what they believe could be better.

“In general, marketers perceive customer engagement strategies to be effective,” the report states. “But a closer look at current tactics suggests marketers place too much weight on transaction-oriented data. The reality is, respondents did a good job using this transaction and basic profile data, which is typically easily accessible through CRM. Almost 9 out of 10 respondents believe they could be doing better at customer engagement if they had access to the right customer data. The state of customer life cycle engagement reveals a number of glaring opportunities for immediate improvement.”

The report includes a list of key recommendations, all of which center around four key strategic imperatives:

  1. Marketing data must shift from stagnant data silos to real-time data access.  “The goal is to move away from data silos to a centralized model where customer attributes are accessible in real time and available for segmentation, campaign triggers, and customer insights,” the report states. “Customer data can be physically moved to a centralized data mart, or a federated model can link data from disparate systems and make it available to marketers.”
  2. Marketing data must shift from campaign-centric to customer-centric.
  3. Marketing data must shift from non-integrated multichannel to integrated multichannel. “Companies need to break down and integrate channel-specific silos in order to deliver seamless customer experiences and create more profitable customer relationships,” it recommends. “Further, they need to be able to centrally manage the design, execution and measurement of marketing campaigns across a multitude of both offline and online channels.”
  4. Marketing must connect analytics, strategy and the creative. “Like channels, which have too often have been treated as standalone elements of customer communications, analytics, strategy, and creative need to come together to form a coherent whole,” the report states.

“Wall Street should care about marketing data because companies that do the best job of tying together and leveraging marketing data will ultimately win and create outsized shareholder value,” argues Russell Glass, CEO of Bizo, in a recent All Things D column.

For CIOs, that’s the start of a great business case for investing in data integration, data quality and, possibly, Big Data technologies.

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