Category Archives: Operational Efficiency
Valentine’s Day is such a strange holiday. It always seems to bring up more questions than answers. And the internet always seems to have a quiz to find out the answer! There’s the “Does he have a crush on you too – 10 simple ways to find out” quiz. There’s the “What special gift should I get her this Valentine’s Day?” quiz. And the ever popular “Why am I still single on Valentine’s Day?” quiz.
Well Marketers, it’s your lucky Valentine’s Day! We have a quiz for you too! It’s about your relationship with data. Where do you stand? Are you ready to take the next step?
Question 1: Do you connect – I mean, really connect – with your data?
□ (A) Not really. We just can’t seem to get it together and really connect.
□ (B) Sometimes. We connect on some levels, but there are big gaps.
□ (C) Most of the time. We usually connect, but we miss out on some things.
□ (D) We are a perfect match! We connect about everything, no matter where, no matter when.
Translation: Data ready marketers have access to the best possible data, no matter what form it is in, no matter what system it is in. They are able to make decisions based everything the entire organization “knows” about their customer/partner/product – with a complete 360 degree view. And they are also able to connect to and integrate with data outside the bounds of their organization to achieve the sought-after 720 degree view. They can integrate and react to social media comments, trends, and feedback – in real time – and to match it with an existing record whenever possible. And they can quickly and easily bring together any third party data sources they may need.
Question 2: How good looking & clean is you data?
□ (A) Yikes, not very. But it’s what’s on the inside that counts right?
□ (B) It’s ok. We’ve both let ourselves go a bit.
□ (C) It’s pretty cute. Not supermodel hot, but definitely girl or boy next door cute.
□ (D) My data is HOT! It’s perfect in every way!
Translation: Marketers need data that is reliable and clean. According to a recent Experian study, American companies believe that 25% of their data is inaccurate, the rest of the world isn’t much more confident. 90% of respondents said they suffer from common data errors, and 78% have problems with the quality of the data they gather from disparate channels. Making marketing decisions based upon data that is inaccurate leads to poor decisions. And what’s worse, many marketers have no idea how good or bad their data is, so they have no idea what impact it is having on their marketing programs and analysis. The data ready marketer understands this and has a top tier data quality solution in place to make sure their data is in the best shape possible.
Question 3: Do you feel safe when you’re with your data?
□ (A) No, my data is pretty scary. 911 is on speed dial.
□ (B) I’m not sure actually. I think so?
□ (C) My date is mostly safe, but it’s got a little “bad boy” or “bad girl” streak.
□ (D) I protect my data, and it protects me back. We keep each other safe and secure.
Translation: Marketers need to be able to trust the quality of their data, but they also need to trust the security of their data. Is it protected or is it susceptible to theft and nefarious attacks like the ones that have been all over the news lately? Nothing keeps a CMO and their PR team up at night like worrying they are going to be the next brand on the cover of a magazine for losing millions of personal customer records. But beyond a high profile data breach, marketers need to be concerned over data privacy. Are you treating customer data in the way that is expected and demanded? Are you using protected data in your marketing practices that you really shouldn’t be? Are you marketing to people on excluded lists
Question 4: Is your data adventurous and well-traveled, or is it more of a “home-body”?
□ (A) My data is all over the place and it’s impossible to find.
□ (B) My data is all in one place. I know we’re missing out on fun and exciting options, but it’s just easier this way.
□ (C) My data is in a few places and I keep fairly good tabs on it. We can find each other when we need to, but it takes some effort.
□ (D) My data is everywhere, but I have complete faith that I can get ahold of any source I might need, when and where I need it.
Translation: Marketing data is everywhere. Your marketing data warehouse, your CRM system, your marketing automation system. It’s throughout your organization in finance, customer support, and sale systems. It’s in third party systems like social media and data aggregators. That means it’s in the cloud, it’s on premise, and everywhere in between. Marketers need to be able to get to and integrate data no matter where it “lives”.
Question 5: Does your data take forever to get ready when it’s time to go do so something together?
□ (A) It takes forever to prepare my data for each new outing. It’s definitely not “ready to go”.
□ (B) My data takes it’s time to get ready, but it’s worth the wait… usually!
□ (C) My data is fairly quick to get ready, but it does take a little time and effort.
□ (D) My data is always ready to go, whenever we need to go somewhere or do something.
Translation: One of the reasons many marketers end up in marketing is because it is fast paced and every day is different. Nothing is the same from day-to-day, so you need to be ready to act at a moment’s notice, and change course on a dime. Data ready marketers have a foundation of great data that they can point at any given problem, at any given time, without a lot of work to prepare it. If it is taking you weeks or even days to pull data together to analyze something new or test out a new hunch, it’s too late – your competitors have already done it!
Question 6: Can you believe the stories your data is telling you?
□ (A) My data is wrong a lot. It stretches the truth a lot, and I cannot rely on it.
□ (B) I really don’t know. I question these stories – dare I say excused – but haven’t been able to prove it one way or the other.
□ (C) I believe what my data says most of the time. It rarely lets me down.
□ (D) My data is very trustworthy. I believe it implicitly because we’ve earned each other’s trust.
Translation: If your data is dirty, inaccurate, and/or incomplete, it is essentially “lying” to you. And if you cannot get to all of the data sources you need, your data is telling you “white lies”! All of the work you’re putting into analysis and optimization is based on questionable data, and is giving you questionable results. Data ready marketers understand this and ensure their data is clean, safe, and connected at all times.
Question 7: Does your data help you around the house with your daily chores?
□ (A) My data just sits around on the couch watching TV.
□ (B) When I nag my data will help out occasionally.
□ (C) My data is pretty good about helping out. It doesn’t take imitative, but it helps out whenever I ask.
□ (D) My data is amazing. It helps out whenever it can, however it can, even without being asked.
Translation: Your marketing data can do so much. It should enable you be “customer ready” – helping you to understand everything there is to know about your customers so you can design amazing personalized campaigns that speak directly to them. It should enable you to be “decision ready” – powering your analytics capabilities with great data so you can make great decisions and optimize your processes. But it should also enable you to be “showcase ready” – giving you the proof points to demonstrate marketing’s actual impact on the bottom line.
Now for the fun part… It’s time to rate your data relationship status
If you answered mostly (A): You have a rocky relationship with your data. You may need some data counseling!
If you answered mostly (B): It’s time to decide if you want this data relationship to work. There’s hope, but you’ve got some work to do.
If you answered mostly (C): You and your data are at the beginning of a beautiful love affair. Keep working at it because you’re getting close!
If you answered mostly (D): Congratulations, you have a strong data marriage that is based on clean, safe, and connected data. You are making great business decisions because you are a data ready marketer!
Do You Love Your Data?
No matter what your data relationship status, we’d love to hear from you. Please take our survey about your use of data and technology. The results are coming out soon so don’t miss your chance to be a part. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DataMktg
Also, follow me on twitter – The Data Ready Marketer – for some of the latest & greatest news and insights on the world of data ready marketing. And stay tuned because we have several new Data Ready Marketing pieces coming out soon – InfoGraphics, eBooks, SlideShares, and more!
Healthcare and data have the makings of an epic love affair, but like most relationships, it’s not all roses. Data is playing a powerful role in finding a cure for cancer, informing cost reduction, targeting preventative treatments and engaging healthcare consumers in their own care. The downside? Data is needy. It requires investments in connectedness, cleanliness and safety to maximize its potential.
- Data is ubiquitous…connect it.
4400 times the amount of information held at the Library of Congress – that’s how much data Kaiser Permanente alone has generated from its electronic medical record. Kaiser successfully makes every piece of information about each patient available to clinicians, including patient health history, diagnosis by other providers, lab results and prescriptions. As a result, Kaiser has seen marked improvements in outcomes: 26% reduction in office visits per member and a 57% reduction in medication errors.
Ongoing value, however, requires continuous investment in data. Investments in data integration and data quality ensure that information from the EMR is integrated with other sources (think claims, social, billing, supply chain) so that clinicians and decision makers have access in the format they need. Without this, self-service intelligence can be inhibited by duplicate data, poor quality data or application silos.
- Data is popular…ensure it is clean.
Healthcare leaders can finally rely on electronic data to make strategic decisions. A CHRISTUS Health anecdote you might relate to – In a weekly meeting each executive reviews their strategic dashboard; these dashboards drive strategic decision making about CPOE adoption (computerized physician order entry), emergency room wait times and price per procedure. Powered by enterprise information management, these dashboards paint a reliable and consistent view across the system’s 60 hospitals. Previous to the implementation of an enterprise data platform, each executive was reliant on their own set of data.
In the pre-data investment era, seemingly common data elements from different sources did not mean the same thing. For example, “Admit Date” in one report reflected the emergency department admission date whereas “Admit Date” in another report referred to the inpatient admission date.
- Sharing data is necessary…make it safe.
To cure cancer, reduce costs and engage patients, care providers need access to data and not just the data they generate; it has to be shared for coordination of care through transitions of care and across settings, i.e. home care, long term care and behavioral health. Fortunately, Consumers and Clinicians agree on this, PWC reports that 56% of consumers and 30% of physicians are comfortable with data sharing for care coordination. Further progress is demonstrated by healthcare organizations willingly adopting cloud based applications –as of 2013, 40% of healthcare organizations were already storing protected health information (PHI) in the cloud.
Increased data access carries risk, leaving health data exposed, however. The threat of data breach or hacking is multiplied by the presence (in many cases necessary) of PHI on employee laptops and the fact that providers are provided increased access to PHI. Ponemon Institute, a security firm estimates that data breaches cost the industry $5.6 billion each year. Investments in data-centric security are necessary to assuage fear, protect personal health data and make secure data sharing a reality.
Early improvements in patient outcomes indicate that the relationship between data and healthcare is a valuable investment. The International Institute of Analytics supports this, reporting that although analytics and data maturity across healthcare lags other industries, the opportunity to positively impact clinical and operational outcomes is significant.
Patient experience is key to growth and success for all health delivery organizations. Gartner has stated that the patient experience needs to be one of the highest priorities for organizations. The quality of your data is critical to achieving that goal. My recent experience with my physician’s office demonstrates how easy it is for the quality of data to influence the patient experience and undermine a patient’s trust in their physician and the organization with which they are interacting.
I have a great relationship with my doctor and have always been impressed by the efficiency of the office. I never wait beyond my appointment time, the care is excellent and the staff is friendly and professional. There is an online tool that allows me to see my records, send messages to my doctor, request an appointment and get test results. The organization enjoys the highest reputation for clinical quality. Pretty much perfect from my perspective – until now.
I needed to change a scheduled appointment due to a business conflict. Since I expected some negotiation I decided to make the phone call rather than request it on line…there are still transactions for which human to human is optimal! I had all my information at hand and made the call. The phone was pleasantly answered and the request given. The receptionist requested my name and date of birth, but then stated that I did not have a future appointment. I am looking at the online tool, which clearly states that I am scheduled for February 17 at 8:30 AM. The pleasant young woman confirms my name, date of birth and address and then tells me that I do not have an appointment scheduled. I am reasonably savvy about these things and figured out the core problem, which is that my last name is hyphenated. Armed with that information, my other record is found and a new appointment scheduled. The transaction is completed.
But now I am worried. My name has been like this for many years and none of my other key data has changed. Are there parts of my clinical history missing in the record that my doctor is using? Will that have a negative impact on the quality of my care? If I were to be unable to clearly respond, might that older record be accessed and my current medications and history not be available? The receptionist did not address the duplicate issue clearly by telling me that she would attend to merging the records, so I have no reason to believe that she will. My confidence is now shaken and I am less trustful of the system and how well it will serve me going forward. I have resolved my issue, but not everyone would be able to push back to insure that their records are now accurate.
Many millions of dollars are being spent on electronic health records. Many more millions are being spent to redesign work flow to accommodate the new EHR’s. Physicians and other clinicians are learning new ways to access data and treat their patients. The foundation for all of this is accurate data. Nicely displayed but inaccurate data will not result in improved care or enhanced member experience. As healthcare organizations move forward with the razzle dazzle of new systems they need to remember the basics of good quality data and insure that it is available to these new applications.
Every year, I get a replacement desk calendar to help keep all of our activities straight – and for a family of four, that is no easy task. I start with taking all of the little appointment cards the dentist, orthodontist, pediatrician and GP give to us for appointments that occur beyond the current calendar dates. I transcribe them all. Then I go through last year’s calendar to transfer any information that is relevant to this year’s calendar. And finally, I put the calendar down in the basement next to previous year calendars so I can refer back to them if I need. Last year’s calendar contains a lot of useful information, but no longer has the ability to solve my need to organize schedules for this year.
In a very loose way – this is very similar to application retirement. Many larger health plans have existing systems that were created several years (sometimes even several decades) ago. These legacy systems have been customized to reflect the health plan’s very specific business processes. They may be hosted on costly hardware, developed in antiquated software languages and rely on a few developers that are very close to retirement. The cost of supporting these (most likely) antiquated systems can be diverting valuable dollars away from innovation.
The process that I use to move appointment and contact data from one calendar to the next works for me – but is relatively small in scale. Imagine if I was trying to do this for an entire organization without losing context, detail or accuracy!
There are several methodologies for determining the best strategy for your organization to approach software modernization, including:
- Architecture Driven Modernization (ADM) is the initiative to standardize views of the existing systems in order to enable common modernization activities like code analysis and comprehension, and software transformation.
- SABA (Bennett et al., 1999) is a high-level framework for planning the evolution and migration of legacy systems, taking into account both organizational and technical issues.
- SRRT (Economic Model to Software Rewriting and Replacement Times), Chan et al. (1996), Formal model for determining optimal software rewrite and replacement timings based on versatile metrics data.
- And if all else fails: Model Driven Engineering (MDE) is being investigated as an approach for reverse engineering and then forward engineering software code
My calendar migration process evolved over time, your method for software modernization should be well planned prior to the go-live date for the new software system.
Like me, you probably just returned from an inspiring Sales Kick Off 2015 event. You’ve invested in talented people. You’ve trained them with the skills and knowledge they need to identify, qualify, validate, negotiate and close deals. You’ve invested in world-class applications, like Salesforce Sales Cloud, to empower your sales team to sell more effectively. But does your sales team have what they need to succeed in 2015?
Gartner predicts that as early as next year, companies will compete primarily on the customer experiences they deliver. So, every customer interaction counts. Knowing your customers is key to delivering great sales experiences.
But, inaccurate, inconsistent and disconnected customer information may be holding your sales team back from delivering great sales experiences. If you’re not fueling Salesforce Sales Cloud (or another Sales Force Automation (SFA) application) with clean, consistent and connected customer information, your sales team may be at a disadvantage against the competition.
To successfully compete and deliver great sales experiences more efficiently, your sales team needs a complete picture of their customers. They don’t want to pull information from multiple applications and then reconcile it in spreadsheets. They want direct access to the Total Customer Relationship across channels, touch points and products within their Salesforce Sales Cloud.
Watch this short video comparing a day-in-the-life of two sales reps competing for the same business. One has access to the Total Customer Relationship in Salesforce Sales Cloud, the other does not. Watch now: Salesforce.com with Clean, Consistent and Connected Customer Information.
Is your sales team spending time creating spreadsheets by pulling together customer information from multiple applications and then reconciling it to understand the Total Customer Relationship across channels, touch points and products? If so, how much is it costing your business? Or is your sales team engaging with customers without understanding the Total Customer Relationship? How much is that costing your business?
Many innovative sales leaders are gaining a competitive edge by better leveraging their customer data to empower their sales teams to deliver great sales experiences. They are fueling business and analytical applications, like Salesforce Sales Cloud, with clean, consistent and connected customer information. They are arming their sales teams with direct access to richer customer profiles, which includes the Total Customer Relationship across channels, touch points and products.
What measurable results have these sales leaders acheived? Merrill Lynch boosted sales productivity by 15%, resulting in $50M in annual impact. A $60B manufacturing company improved cross-sell and up-sell success by 5%. Logitech increased across channels: online, in their retail partner’s stores and through distribution partners.
This year, I believe more sales leaders will focus on leveraging their customer information for competitive advantage. This will help them shift from sales automation to sales optimization. What do you think?
As we renew or reinvent ourselves for 2015, I wanted to share a case of “imagine if” with you and combine it with the narrative of an American frontier town out West, trying to find a new Sheriff – a Wyatt Earp. In this case the town is a legacy European communications firm and Wyatt and his brothers are the new managers – the change agents.
Here is a positive word upfront. This operator has had some success in rolling outs broadband internet and IPTV products to residential and business clients to replace its dwindling copper install base. But they are behind the curve on the wireless penetration side due to the number of smaller, agile MVNOs and two other multi-national operators with a high density of brick-and-mortar stores, excellent brand recognition and support infrastructure. Having more than a handful of brands certainly did not make this any easier for our CSP. To make matters even more challenging, price pressure is increasingly squeezing all operators in this market. The ones able to offset the high-cost Capex for spectrum acquisitions and upgrades with lower-cost Opex for running the network and maximizing subscriber profitability, will set themselves up for success (see one of my earlier posts around the same phenomenon in banking).
Not only did they run every single brand on a separate CRM and billing application (including all the various operational and analytical packages), they also ran nearly every customer-facing-service (CFS) within a brand the same dysfunctional way. In the end, they had over 60 CRM and the same number of billing applications across all copper, fiber, IPTV, SIM-only, mobile residential and business brands. Granted, this may be a quite excessive example; but nevertheless, it is relevant for many other legacy operators.
As a consequence, their projections indicate they incur over €600,000 annually in maintaining duplicate customer records (ignoring duplicate base product/offer records for now) due to excessive hardware, software and IT operations. Moreover, they have to stomach about the same amount for ongoing data quality efforts in IT and the business areas across their broadband and multi-play service segments.
Here are some more consequences they projected:
- €18.3 million in call center productivity improvement
- €790,000 improvement in profit due to reduced churn
- €2.3 million reduction in customer acquisition cost
- And if you include the fixing of duplicate and conflicting product information, add another €7.3 million in profit via billing error and discount reduction (which is inline with our findings from a prior telco engagement)
Despite major business areas not having contributed to the investigation and improvements being often on the conservative side, they projected a 14:1 return ratio between overall benefit amount and total project cost.
Coming back to the “imagine if” aspect now, one would ask how this behemoth of an organization can be fixed. Well, it will take years but without management (in this case new managers busting through the door), this organization has the chance to become the next Rocky Mountain mining ghost town.
The good news is that this operator is seeing some management changes now. The new folks have a clear understanding that business-as-usual won’t do going forward and that centralization of customer insight (which includes some data elements) has its distinct advantages. They will tackle new customer analytics, order management, operational data integration (network) and next-best-action use cases incrementally. They know they are in the data, not just the communication business. They realize they have to show a rapid succession of quick wins rather than make the organization wait a year or more for first results. They have fairly humble initial requirements to get going as a result.
You can equate this to the new Sheriff not going after the whole organization of the three, corrupt cattle barons, but just the foreman of one of them for starters. With little cost involved, the Sheriff acquires some first-hand knowledge plus he sends a message, which will likely persuade others to be more cooperative going forward.
What do you think? Is new management the only way to implement drastic changes around customer experience, profitability or at least understanding?
Just last week, I visited a client for whom I had been consulting on-and-off for several years. On the meeting room wall, I saw their Enterprise Architecture portfolio, beautiful graphically designed and printed on a giant sheet of paper. My host proudly informed me how much she enjoyed putting that diagram together in 2009.
I jokingly reminded her of the famous notion of “art for art’s sake”; which is an appropriate phrase to describe what many architects are doing when populating frameworks. Indeed, when we refer to Enterprise Architecture, we must remember that the term ‘architecture’ is, itself, a metaphor.
In a tough economy, when competition is increasingly global and marketplaces are shifting, this ability to make tough decisions is going to be essential. Opportunities to save costs are going to be really valued, and architecture invariably helps companies save money. The ability to reuse, and thus rapidly seize the next related business opportunity, is also going to be highly valued.
The thing you have to be careful of is that if you see your markets disappearing, if your product is outdated, or your whole industry is redefining itself, as we have seen in things like media, you have to be ready to innovate. Architecture can restrict your innovative gene, by saying, “Wait, wait, wait. We want to slow down. We want to do things on our platform.” That can be very dangerous, if you are really facing disruptive technology or market changes.
Albert Camus wrote a famous essay exploring the Sisyphus myth called “The Myth of Sisyphus,” where he reinterpreted the central theme of the myth. Similarly, we need to challenge the myths of Enterprise Architecture and enterprise system/solution architecture in general – not meekly accept them.
IEEE says, “A key premise of this metaphor is that important decisions may be made early in system development in a manner similar to the early decision-making found in the development of civil architecture projects.”
Keep asking yourself, “When is what we built that’s stable actually constraining us too much? When is it preventing important innovation?” For many architects, that’s going to be tough, because you start to love the architecture, the standards, and the discipline. You love what you’ve created, but if it isn’t right for the market you’re facing, you have to be ready to let it go and go seize the next opportunity.
The central message is as follows: ‘documenting’ architecture in various layers of abstraction for the purposes of ‘completeness’ is plainly ridiculous. This is especially true when the effort to produce the artifacts takes such an amount of time as to make the whole collection obsolete on completion.
“Raw materials costs are the company’s single largest expense category,” said Steve Jenkins, Global IT Director at Valspar, at MDM Day in London. “Data management technology can help us improve business process efficiency, manage sourcing risk and reduce RFQ cycle times.”
Valspar is a $4 billion global manufacturing company, which produces a portfolio of leading paint and coating brands. At the end of 2013, the 200 year old company celebrated record sales and earnings. They also completed two acquisitions. Valspar now has 10,000 employees operating in 25 countries.
As is the case for many global companies, growth creates complexity. “Valspar has multiple business units with varying purchasing practices. We source raw materials from 1,000s of vendors around the globe,” shared Steve.
“We want to achieve economies of scale in purchasing to control spending,” Steve said as he shared Valspar’s improvement objectives. “We want to build stronger relationships with our preferred vendors. Also, we want to develop internal process efficiencies to realize additional savings.”
Poorly managed vendor and raw materials data was impacting Valspar’s buying power
The Valspar team, who sharply focuses on productivity, had an “Aha” moment. “We realized our buying power was limited by the age and quality of available vendor data and raw materials data,” revealed Steve.
The core vendor data and raw materials data that should have been the same across multiple systems wasn’t. Data was often missing or wrong. This made it difficult to calculate the total spend on raw materials. It was also hard to calculate the total cost of expedited freight of raw materials. So, employees used a manual, time-consuming and error-prone process to consolidate vendor data and raw materials data for reporting.
These data issues were getting in the way of achieving their improvement objectives. Valspar needed a data management solution.
Valspar needed a single trusted source of vendor and raw materials data
The team chose Informatica MDM, master data management (MDM) technology. It will be their enterprise hub for vendors and raw materials. It will manage this data centrally on an ongoing basis. With Informatica MDM, Valspar will have a single trusted source of vendor and raw materials data.
Informatica PowerCenter will access data from multiple source systems. Informatica Data Quality will profile the data before it goes into the hub. Then, after Informatica MDM does it’s magic, PowerCenter will deliver clean, consistent, connected and enriched data to target systems.
Better vendor and raw materials data management results in cost savings
Valspar expects to gain the following business benefits:
- Streamline the RFQ process to accelerate raw materials cost savings
- Reduce the total number of raw materials SKUs and vendors
- Increase productivity of staff focused on pulling and maintaining data
- Leverage consistent global data visibly to:
- increase leverage during contract negotiations
- improve acquisition due diligence reviews
- facilitate process standardization and reporting
Valspar’s vision is to tranform data and information into a trusted organizational assets
“Mastering vendor and raw materials data is Phase 1 of our vision to transform data and information into trusted organizational assets,” shared Steve. In Phase 2 the Valspar team will master customer data so they have immediate access to the total purchases of key global customers. In Phase 3, Valspar’s team will turn their attention to product or finished goods data.
Steve ended his presentation with some advice. “First, include your business counterparts in the process as early as possible. They need to own and drive the business case as well as the approval process. Also, master only the vendor and raw materials attributes required to realize the business benefit.”
Want more? Download the Total Supplier Information Management eBook. It covers:
- Why your fragmented supplier data is holding you back
- The cost of supplier data chaos
- The warning signs you need to be looking for
- How you can achieve Total Supplier Information Management
I recently had the opportunity to have a very interesting discussion with Glenn Gow, the CEO of Crimson Marketing. I was impressed at what an interesting and smart guy he was, and with the tremendous insight he has into the marketing discipline. He consults with over 150 CMOs every year, and has a pretty solid understanding about the pains they are facing, the opportunities in front of them, and the approaches that the best-of-the-best are taking that are leading them towards new levels of success.
I asked Glenn if he would be willing to do a Q&A in order to share some of his insight. I hope you find his perspective as interesting as I did!
Q: What do you believe is the single biggest advantage that marketers have today?
A: Being able to use data in marketing is absolutely your single biggest competitive advantage as a marketer. And therefore your biggest challenge is capturing, leveraging and rationalizing that data. The marketers we speak with tend to fall into two buckets.
- Those who understand that the way they manage data is critical to their marketing success. These marketers use data to inform their decisions, and then rely on it to measure their effectiveness.
- Those who haven’t yet discovered that data is the key to their success. Often these people start with systems in mind – marketing automation, CRM, etc. But after implementing and beginning to use these systems, they almost always come to the realization that they have a data problem.
Q: How has this world of unprecedented data sources and volumes changed the marketing discipline?
A: In short… dramatically. The shift has really happened in the last two years. The big impetus for this change has really been the availability of data. You’ve probably heard this figure, but Google’s Eric Schmidt likes to say that every two days now, we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization until 2003.
We believe this is a massive opportunity for marketers. The question is, how do we leverage this data. How do we pull the golden nuggets out that will help us do our jobs better. Marketers now have access to information they’ve never had access to or even contemplated before. This gives them the ability to become a more effective marketer. And by the way… they have to! Customers expect them to!
For example, ad re-targeting. Customers expect to be shown ads that are relevant to them, and if marketers don’t successfully do this, they can actually damage their brand.
In addition, competitors are taking full advantage of data, and are getting better every day at winning the hearts and minds of their customers – so marketers need to act before their competitors do.
Marketers have a tremendous opportunity – rich data is available and the technology is available to harness it is now, so that they can win a war that they could never before.
Q: Where are the barriers they are up against in harnessing this data?
A: I’d say that barriers can really be broken down into 4 main buckets: existing architecture, skill sets, relationships, and governance.
- Existing Architecture: The way that data has historically been collected and stored doesn’t have the CMO’s needs in mind. The CMO has an abundance of data theoretically at their fingertips, but they cannot do what they want with it. The CMO needs to insist on, and work together with the CIO to build an overarching data strategy that meets their needs – both today and tomorrow because the marketing profession and tool sets are rapidly changing. That means the CMO and their team need to step into a conversation they’ve never had before with the CIO and his/her team. And it’s not about systems integration but it’s about data integration.
- Existing Skill Sets: The average marketer today is a right-brained individual. They entered the profession because they are naturally gifted at branding, communications, and outbound perspectives. And that requirement doesn’t go away – it’s still important. But today’s marketer now needs to grow their left-brained skills, so they can take advantage of inbound information, marketing technologies, data, etc. It’s hard to ask a right-brained person to suddenly be effective at managing this data. The CMO needs to fill this skillset gap primarily by bringing in people that understand it, but they cannot ignore it themselves. The CMO needs to understand how to manage a team of data scientists and operations people to dig through and analyze this data. Some CMOs have actually learned to love data analysis themselves (in fact your CMO at Informatica Marge Breya is one of them).
- Existing Relationships: In a data-driven marketing world, relationships with the CIO become paramount. They have historically determined what data is collected, where it is stored, what it is connected to, and how it is managed. Today’s CMO isn’t just going to the CIO with a simple task, as in asking them to build a new dashboard. They have to collectively work together to build a data strategy that will work for the organization as a whole. And marketing is the “new kid on the block” in this discussion – the CIO has been working with finance, manufacturing, etc. for years, so it takes some time (and great data points!) to build that kind of cohesive relationship. But most CIOs understand that it’s important, if for no other reason that they see budgets increasingly shifting to marketing and the rest of the Lines of Business.
- Governance: Who is ultimately responsible for the data that lives within an organization? It’s not an easy question to answer. And since marketing is a relatively new entrant into the data discussion, there are often a lot of questions left to answer. If marketing wants access to the customer data, what are we going to let them do with it? Read it? Append to it? How quickly does this happen? Who needs to author or approve changes to a data flow? Who manages opt ins/outs and regulatory black lists? And how does that impact our responsibility as an organization? This is a new set of conversations for the CMO – but they’re absolutely critical.
Q: Are the CMOs you speak with concerned with measuring marketing success?
A: Absolutely. CMOs are feeling tremendous pressure from the CEO to quantify their results. There was a recent Duke University study of CMOs that asked if they were feeling pressure from the CEO or board to justify what they’re doing. 64% of the respondents said that they do feel this pressure, and 63% say this pressure is increasing.
CMOs cannot ignore this. They need to have access to the right data that they can trust to track the effectiveness of their organizations. They need to quantitatively demonstrate the impact that their activities have had on corporate revenue – not just ROI or Marketing Qualified Leads. They need to track data points all the way through the sales cycle to close and revenue, and to show their actual impact on what the CEO really cares about.
Q: Do you think marketers who undertake marketing automation products without a solid handle on their data first are getting solid results?
A: That is a tricky one. Ideally, yes, they’d have their data in great shape before undertaking a marketing automation process. The vast majority of companies who have implemented the various marketing technology tools have encountered dramatic data quality issues, often coming to light during the process of implementing their systems. So data quality and data integration is the ideal first step.
But the truth is, solving a company’s data problem isn’t a simple, straight-forward challenge. It takes time and it’s not always obvious how to solve the problem. Marketers need to be part of this conversation. They need to drive how they’re going to be managing data moving forward. And they need to involve people who understand data well, whether they be internal (typically in IT), or external (consulting companies like Crimson, and technology providers like Informatica).
So the reality for a CMO, is that it has to be a parallel path. CMOs need to get involved in ensuring that data is managed in a way they can use effectively as a marketer, but in the meantime, they cannot stop doing their day-to-day job. So, sure, they may not be getting the most out of their investment in marketing automation, but it’s the beginning of a process that will see tremendous returns over the long term.
Q: Is anybody really getting it “right” yet?
A: This is the best part… yes! We are starting to see more and more forward-thinking organizations really harnessing their data for competitive advantage, and using technology in very smart ways to tie it all together and make sense of it. In fact, we are in the process of writing a book entitled “Moneyball for Marketing” that features eleven different companies who have marketing strategies and execution plans that we feel are leading their industries.
So readers, what do you think? Who do you think is getting it “right” by leveraging their data with smart technology and truly getting meaningful an impactful results?