— Marketing

Addressing the challenges of marketing data

By Glen McMillan

Summary

Salesforce has recently released its APAC Marketing Intelligence Report, summarising results from a 2020 survey of over 1,000 marketers across Asia Pacific. Here are my key outtakes and reflections from a New Zealand perspective.

The pressure is on in a new business landscape

 

Marketing roles are faced with some big demands:

  1. Accountability for return on marketing investment. This delivers to the short-term growth of the business. As many as 91% of marketers agree that marketing has a major role to play in driving revenue, according to the report. The majority of marketers surveyed also indicated that they are prioritising marketing efficiency and improving ROI.
  2. Help drive exceptional customer experience. This delivers to the long-term growth of the business through brand equity, loyalty and customer centric values.

The promise of data-driven marketing has been a long time coming, but in my experience, most marketers are still challenged by a lack of unified reporting and real-time insight. 

There is a balance to be struck between short- and long-term growth. The study finds that within APAC, there is a particular focus on metrics that help drive lifetime value, including customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention.

However, short-term growth is still a focus. One agency director surveyed put it neatly: “the ultimate challenge is demonstrating results in the short-term and setting up at the same time for those longer term results … there is constant pressure to be delivering results, every quarter.”

When asked about measuring success in delivering against their goals, 45% of the marketers surveyed rated their performance as poor or fair.

Challenges to growth trace back to data

 

Inefficient use of budget and difficulty in identifying how to correct this is a key challenge. 

Many marketers in the survey reported a lack of a unified view of performance, and 40% reported they are unable to get real-time insights from their data. 

Each of the top five barriers to marketing growth trace back to data.

Cross-channel data integration is elusive for many marketers. This is in part due to lack of alignment across teams on how to measure and report the meaningful metrics. Consequently, 64% of marketers are spending a week or more each month solely on harmonising data.

According to the Salesforce study, the main contributing factors to this lack of unified reporting are:

  • Data accuracy
  • Ability to connect and unify data from multiple sources
  • Data accessibility
  • Creating consistent KPIs and taxonomy across sources
  • Employee resources and skill set

From a local perspective, I think these are all absolutely on the money. I’d go further to say the root cause of the top four is also in the list – skills shortage. So I might not put them in the same order. 

Addressing the challenges head on

 

There are some really good Business Intelligence (BI) platforms available that can solve for most of these challenges with relative ease. The following are what I’d look for:

Choose a BI solution well suited to marketing data

Your BI solution should have off-the-shelf connections for a wide range of digital marketing platforms, for example Google Search, Google Display Network, LinkedIn, Youtube and Facebook Ads. Look also for a platform that easily accommodates data from web analytics, CRM, email and social platforms. Data from common platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads in some cases can be automatically mapped to a preconfigured and well thought out data model, making ingesting all your marketing data into one system quick and relatively easy.

Plan for your reporting needs

Once you have feeds set up, you’ll want to design the way data is processed so that your data is correctly classified and linked across data sources. This will allow you to understand comparative campaign performance across channels. You’ll also want to be able to identify performance trends and outliers across the whole customer journey. You want to be able to link up similar fields like campaign name and device, or any other dimension that is meaningful to your business, to get a holistic view of what’s working and what’s not. This may be difficult to do inside the walled gardens of the bigger advertising providers, so this is where your BI platform can shine. There will likely be multiple methods available to link and categorise data to provide a unified view across all sources, from which you can compare and filter data by the dimensions that are meaningful to you. Planning ahead for your reporting needs ensures the right methods are applied and the outcome is what you expect.

No data scientists required

With a bit of planning and with all the data in one place, categorised and visualised in a meaningful way, leveraging it should no longer be a painful and time consuming exercise, it should now be a pleasure. With the right BI platform, it can even look great, with customised branding and imagery implemented in literally just a few clicks, your dashboards become not only a valuable resource for you, they can also be beautiful and user friendly. You’ll want them on the wall for all to see.

Good luck! And if you need any help, well, you know where to find krunch.co.

Read next:What are the elements of a good dashboard?

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