Data driven marketing has become essential in the modern marketing climate. This strategy allows marketers to leverage big data to analyze consumer trends and preferences. These insights can then be used as the building blocks for successful, well-targeted marketing campaigns.
Marketers often use data driven tools such as marketing analytics dashboards and business intelligence platforms to inform their campaigns. Through these tools, marketers can analyze data efficiently and create useful business insights.
However, many marketers are acquiring tools without fully evaluating their potential. This either results in unwise purchasing decisions, or under-utilization of useful features. Currently, Gartner estimates that the average organization deploys 18 different types of marketing technology, but are only using 61 percent of the capabilities contained in the stack. At the same time, they are marred by redundant software that can cause inefficiencies and increase marketing technology related costs.
This can be avoided by revamping your marketing technology stack to include tools with a few key competencies. By keeping these competencies in mind while purchasing, marketers will enjoy many benefits, including a better customer experience, a positive brand perception, and improved decision making. Let’s take a look at the criteria that effective data driven marketing tools should have.
Essential Features of Data Driven Marketing Tools
Did you know that technology accounts for 29 percent of a marketing team’s overall expenses? Although marketing technology provides a boon for marketing teams, it is far too common for teams to find themselves with a complex, expensive marketing stack.
Due to the niche needs of certain businesses, marketers often purchase multiple data driven marketing tools with overlapping capabilities. While this situation is sometimes inevitable, marketers should try to control the sprawl of their software portfolio by reducing redundancies where possible. To assist in purchasing the right data driven tools, look for the following features:
Data Quality Assurance
Marketers have an overwhelming number of data sources – and its exceedingly important to ensure that the data from these sources is high quality. This includes verifying that your data follows basic data quality dimensions, including being accurate, consistent, timely, and more.
While there’s some legwork to ensuring data quality - like collecting data from a reputable vendor, or ensuring that the data is in a standardized format – a data driven marketing tool should provide basic data quality assurance measures. This will help ensure that your campaigns are properly targeted from the outset, and help marketing managers and the C-suite make informed decisions.
Real Time Insights
In the past, it was acceptable for marketers to evaluate marketing campaigns in the weeks or months following its launch. Today, marketers need to react much more quickly to campaign feedback. The best data driven marketing tools provide the ability to analyze and optimize campaigns while they’re in motion. This allows marketers to perfect their targeting as they continuously collect first-party customer data.
Real time insights are often facilitated by automated data feeds between a tool and sources such as an organization’s internal database, social media accounts, or SEM platforms. This information is captured and fed into a dashboard at the moment that its acquired, ensuring that data is as timely as possible. However, collecting real-time insights often creates a torrent of data, so the best tools will provide data visualization, helping marketers understand their initiatives at a glance.
When multiple data driven technologies are being used, there’s a chance that data silos will form. These data silos contain information that only a single department is privy to, which makes it difficult for marketing departments to properly analyze every piece of relevant data. This can result in disjointed experiences across the entire organization.
Marketers should determine the number and types of data sources they need to integrate before purchasing a data driven marketing tool. This will help ensure that their unique data integration needs are met. Otherwise, they may end up stuck in the time consuming endeavor of cleaning and integrating data from multiple platforms manually. With 52 percent of marketing teams claiming that integrating data is one of their most time consuming activities, marketers should try to avoid poor integration from the outset.
Processing Power and Data Storage
With marketers leveraging more data than ever before, it is important to ensure that their marketing tools are able to process and store large volumes of data. This is especially true for cloud-based tools, as they often either provide limited storage, or may charge exorbitant rates for cloud processing and storage. Most of all, ensure that your data is stored in a secure, protected location.
These tools should also process data at a reasonable speed, so marketers are not waiting hours or days to view their insights. Best-in-class tools will provide capabilities such as data streams, which will consistently feed data into the tool, allowing organizations to create visualizations on demand.
Marketing data can be incredibly varied and complex, and can enter the organization from many different sources. Many campaigns have touchpoints that are both online and offline, which can be a challenge for many data driven tools to measure. However, poorly measuring either online or offline campaigns can result in blind spots that can lead entire campaigns astray.
Marketers should seek out tools that can capture data from multiple sources in a consistent format, allowing the data to efficiently be consumed and processed by analytics tools. This approach, called unified marketing measurement, will ensure that all first party data is being analyzed correctly.
Marketing technology stacks are becoming more complex as marketers attempt to fully realize the value of their data. However, marketers must eventually take a step back and ensure they’re not overspending on data driven marketing tools. One of the best ways to achieve this is to enact high standards for marketing technology from the outset, and rigorously assess the value of programs and tools that have previously been welcomed into your marketing stack.
Data driven marketing tools are crucial to the day-to-day work of marketers – and for this reason, great scrutiny is required when purchasing these tools. If proper care is taken when selecting data driven marketing tools, marketers will enjoy better efficiency and improved decision making, contributing to more successful marketing campaigns.