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Proactively Organizing Disparate Marketing Data Sources

Last updated: August 15, 2019

Proactively Organizing Disparate Marketing Data Sources

The prevalence of data in marketing has enabled marketers to create well informed and detailed campaigns that drive success in a measurable way. 

Unfortunately, over time, marketers have become been burdened by too many sources of data – partially due to the current omnichannel landscape. In 2017, marketers were known to leverage data from ten different data sources on average. Two years later, marketers utilized data from sixteen different data sources. This stark growth has left them struggling to organize and manage their data in an optimal way.

Marketers must forge a new path and utilize strategies like unified marketing measurement to take a strategic approach to data. Before discussing strategies to organize and aggregate this data, it’s important to understand the main sources of data in today’s marketing environment.

Three Main Sources of Data for Marketers

Marketers must be very mindful of where their data is sourced. Not only can data be found on multiple different channels, but it can also be obtained from multiple parties. These sources are broken into three categories: First-party data, second-party data, and third-party data. Each data source has its own strengths and weaknesses that organizations should consider before wielding this information to create data driven campaigns.


  • First-Party Data- First-party data is information about prospects or customers that is directly collected by your organization. Examples of first party data include data collected via company websites and company surveys. While this data is quite reliable, it only provides a limited perspective of the customer. As well, collecting and verifying first-party data can be an arduous task.
  • Second-Party Data- Second-party data attains information about prospects or customers via a private agreement with a trusted business partner. For example, a clothing manufacturer may partner with a clothing retailer to source sales data to better inform their business decisions. This type of data is usually very granular, and broken down into the household, person, device, or business level. However, one of the most valuable features regarding second-party data is how exclusive it is, since it’s not sold on open markets like third-party data.
  • Third-Party Data: Third-party data is sold by dedicated data providers. Acquiring this type of data requires no prior relationship, and data is typically aggregated from multiple different sources. While it can offer valuable insights, keep in mind that third-party data is typically the least accurate out of all data sources, and will not be as specific to your business goals or target audience.

The Need for Data from Disparate Sources

It is imperative that marketers acquire data from multiple sources to drive their campaigns. This will ultimately assist in getting a more complete view of the customer, allowing marketing teams to better understand their needs. Accurate, granular data from first and second party sources can be used to inform person-level insights, and identify nuances that may otherwise be missed by market-level insights. On the other hand, if third party data is properly vetted, it can provide more valuable targeting information based on market trends.

How to Organize Multiple Data Sources

Organizing the data culled from these various sources is a necessary process in order to simplify it enough to make it actionable. If data is unorganized, it is difficult to distill insights and tell stories that will resonate with a target audience

One popular way to organize data is around marketing goals. Creating constructive goals requires having a clear picture of what action the marketing team wants the audience to perform. For example, is the campaign designed to generate awareness, or encourage a purchase? By deciding this, marketing teams can determine the datasets most important to accomplishing this goal.

To determine which datasets are significant, begin by identifying key stakeholders. Ensure these key stakeholders have a fundamental impact on the organization’s performance, and that your organization can clearly identify what the stakeholder wants. Since not all information will be relevant to stakeholder objectives, this identification process will help narrow down only the most important datasets. Instead, the data selected based on stakeholder objectives will allow organizations to primarily focus on data integral to the campaign’s success.

Finally, don’t forget to define exactly who these prospective stakeholders are. These key stakeholders may include valued customers, employees, top management, and more. By isolating datasets from these groups, your organization will be able to target campaigns more effectively. When searching for important audience data, try to isolate demographic data, behavioral data, and motivation data. This will help your organization better understand where the targeted audience is, when they want your product or service, and why they’re driven to action.

Aggregating Varied Datasets with Unified Marketing Measurement 

Once these datasets have been found and organized, the next step is to aggregate and analyze this information to form actionable insights. To aggregate this data, utilize a dashboard that will allow your organization to access all of their data from one central location. If this functionality is not available to marketing teams, they will likely lose important insights due to the sheer noise generated by massive amounts of data. 

This method is called unified marketing measurement. Unified marketing measurement (UMM) gives a complete view of the customer across all data sources and channels, while breaking down data silos that can make certain information inaccessible across the organization. Despite the utility of UMM, only 49 percent of retail and consumer goods marketers claim to have a completely unified view of customer data sources. For the majority of marketers, the inability to aggregate data in a unified way is a major hindrance to their campaigns. For this reason, using a dashboard that utilizes UMM can give marketers a formidable advantage over the competition.

Final Thoughts

To take full advantage of the data-driven transformation that marketing has experienced, organizations must learn how to organize and aggregate customer data. If this data is used in a well-informed, organized way, then marketing campaigns will be able to drive considerably more success. Without proper organization, marketers will struggle to see the forest for the trees. By understanding where their data is sourced and how to best organize it, marketers will be able to meet and exceed customer needs.

Written by Marketing Evolution