marketing challenges 2

The Future of Marketing Is Here: Automating Data-Driven Campaigns

Gut Instincts and Data Troubles

As a marketer, your life revolves around data, yet a common challenge for marketers is visibility into the many corporate databases that hold prized data just waiting to be used. How much effort do you spend manually locating data you can trust to drive your campaign decisions? What percentage of your decisions are based on gut instinct because you can’t trust some of your data? 

Would it surprise you to know that 54% of organizations say data quality and completeness is their biggest challenge with data-driven campaigns? This is remarkable given that 67% believe data-based decisions are more effective than gut instincts. Why can’t marketers get to the data they need to inform decisions and automate their campaigns?

Mostly, it’s because data is fragmented, disconnected, and unactionable. It’s there, it’s just hard to find or make sense of. It requires someone (or a team of people) to locate it, tie it all together, and analyze it to be able to use it to any degree. This takes a ridiculous amount of time, especially considering the fact that Hubspot found the average company uses 12 different tools in their marketing stack and some are using as many as 31!. Because of this, some rely on gut instinct. It’s better than nothing, right?

Even if you have some semblance of order, the data is often buried in stagnant spreadsheets that are basically outdated by the time they’re accessed because all of the data within them is manually inputted and not in real-time. If you want better reporting, you likely wait for IT to lend you a hand and that takes time. Effective marketing agency campaigns are all about timing. What opportunities are you missing with all of the time being wasted trying to get to the good data?

Use It or Lose It

Your data is there; it’s just a matter of finding it and leveraging it to your advantage. Gartner says marketers only utilize 58% of their martech stack’s potential. For an increasing number of companies, integrating systems is the answer. But that’s just the first step. You need to automate how data is compiled, analyzed, and presented so you can use it immediately with minimal effort. 

Let’s take Hubspot as an example. You know your Hubspot application has a ton of great customer data, but if you don’t have a way to automatically tie it to your marketing efforts and pull out the relevant data that is analyzed and cleansed, it’s doing you little good in being able to activate channels and campaigns. You need a way to not only see the data, but enrich, manage, and use that data to create highly-personalized, data-driven, cross-channel campaigns. 

Related: 8 Data-Driven Obstacles B2Bs Should Sidestep

CMO reported on a LinkedIn study that found that despite B2B marketers’ reputation for being slow to move beyond data analytics, they are ready to increase their usage of marketing technologies, particularly in regards to analytics, automation, and the Internet of Things. Are you on board?

When you integrate your marketing stack, you’re reducing those manual steps that eat up all of your time that could be spent executing killer campaigns. But remember, integration is only the beginning. If you use software that brings all of that data together in a meaningful way, now you’re cooking with grease. 

Do You Trust It?

So, what if you’re one of the lucky ones who actually has data at your fingertips? You’re using your data to drive campaigns. How do you know you can trust your data? Would you be willing to bet your budget on it? It’s a gamble if you can’t definitively say you have 100% assurance your data is accurate…and not just accurate now, but will be accurate when the campaign actually launches. Old data is bad data.

Related: 3 Step Data-Prep for Marketing Campaign Success

In a Forbes article, the author recounts a story where he was a victim of bad data. “We had an external analysis performed that revealed some interesting insights about our customer base,” he said. “We made adjustments based on this new information, and we were heading in a direction which I felt good about and which made sense intellectually. However, after further review of the data, we discovered the analysis had been wrong.” 

The false data sent them in the wrong direction that inevitably consumed precious resources. Can you relate? A 2019 Forrester Consulting report, “Why Marketers Can’t Ignore Data Quality,” featured in a Digital Commerce 360 article found some interesting stats that signal marketers are largely in the same boat:

  • 37% of respondents said poor data quality contributed to wasted marketing spend
  • 35% said poor data quality produced inaccurate targeting
  • 28% said bad data resulted in a poor customer experience
  • 24% believe it resulted in inaccurate marketing performance results
  • 21% of marketing budgets are wasted because of bad data
  • 33% of respondents say they have complete confidence that their data is timely
  • 30% say they have confidence their data is complete or consistent
  • 22% believe their data is accurate

As you can probably relate, it’s not so much about having data. It’s about having good data you can trust. How do you not only harness your data (whether it’s sourced internally or externally) but trust the data enough to put your money on it? You’re the one who will have to justify the expense to your stakeholders and show a return on that investment. Are you willing to put your name on it?

Connecting the Dots

There is hope. Software exists that centralizes the data you have throughout your organization and ensures its quality and completeness in real-time. That’s a critical component that many marketers are missing. Real-time data is critical to the enterprise, including marketing. Gartner predicts that by 2022, “more than half of major new business systems will incorporate continuous intelligence that uses real-time context data to improve decisions.” 

We can only conclude that if you’re not leveraging real-time data, you’re falling behind the curve and your competitors are in a prime position to take the lead. Companies who understand the value of real-time data and prioritize the implementation of technology to enable access to it will have a competitive advantage. 

They will be able to trust and leverage their data to develop campaigns that move the needle.  They can depend on that data to identify and reach their total addressable market in highly-personalized ways. They will know the quality of every marketing segment for smarter campaigns that reach the right people at the right time with the right messaging. How valuable would that capability be to your marketing organization?

Marketers are in an enviable spot. With data circulating everywhere, it’s been a common challenge to control it, trust it, and use it to drive the company forward. Some have figured out how to do this, but it hasn’t always been efficient. Now, however, it’s easier than ever to identify and fix critical data issues in campaign segments before you launch them. You can seamlessly integrate into your key MAP and CRM systems to get real-time data you can trust. You can finally get the full value out of your martech stacks to provide real, measurable results to the business – with much less effort.