Today, most modern marketers devote hours of their workweeks—sometimes more than 50 hours a month—to wrangling and cleaning data, deciphering marketing signals and interpreting campaign results. Yet despite their best efforts and significant time investments, many still struggle to make sense of the seemingly endless flood of data pouring into their organizations.
Data is at the center of the post-digital marketing era. Instead of becoming overwhelmed, it’s time to make marketing data work for you. Here are four, actionable tips for bringing your data to life and extracting additional value from your marketing activations:
- Start with a Plan. Getting a complete view of your marketing performance can be slow and time-consuming when your data is scattered across hundreds of different, fragmented data sources. And manually processing all of the resulting marketing signals across channels is virtually impossible. To gain one unified view of your data to see how your efforts are working together and impacting the bottom line, it’s critical to establish KPIs and an overarching measurement framework from the start. This will help to ensure your marketing data outputs can be used for apples-to-apples comparisons with a well-understood hierarchy for all classes of users – from the CMO to the campaign manager. It will also help you gauge the efficacy of your analytics tools, adjust current processes as needed and hone in on each channel’s individual contributions.
- Choose Your Team Wisely. Marketing data is increasingly complex due to the proliferation of channels and fast-changing data sources, such as public APIs from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, etc. True data-driven marketing teams cannot rely on technology alone to ensure data accuracy and completeness. When building a team, nothing can replace competent, experienced specialists with deep measurement and analytics know-how. People always come first – whether they are in-house or via an agency partner.
- Beware of Data Discrepancies. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to measuring marketing signals and performance data, and as such, it can be extremely challenging to combine data sets and achieve insightful cross-channel analysis. For example, consider the nuances and challenges facing a marketer who is simultaneously measuring eight different campaigns utilizing 50 APIs, which together are delivering thousands of ad impressions over a month’s time in seven countries located in different time zones. No small feat! If you’re not using tools to identify and normalize your marketing data coming from these disparate sources and formats, it’s important to pinpoint where discrepancies exist, then work to prioritize and address them. Understand that this will take time and will likely affect both current and historic reporting processes, so set expectations accordingly.
- Fight Data Lag with a One-Two Punch. Many organizations today are plagued by data lag caused by delayed access to APIs, cleaning the signals once they have been collected and analyzing the signals to deliver something meaningful and actionable to marketing teams. Too often, these gaps go unnoticed for periods of time, hindering the organization’s ability to take timely actions and optimize in-flight campaigns. To minimize data lag, first look for tools that automatically identify and alert on errors and anomalies. Second, turn to expert marketing technologists accustomed to working with various APIs who can trouble-shoot these issues directly—allowing you and your team to focus on more business-critical issues.
Too many marketers are overlooking important marketing signals due to inconsistent, disparate data points. As a result, they’re missing out on key opportunities to connect and engage with consumers. Following these four steps will put you on the right path toward streamlining and unifying your marketing data, maximizing accuracy and reliability, and gaining a comprehensive view of your marketing performance across channels.
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