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Take These Steps to Avoid Wasting Your Marketing Technology Budget

Avoid Wasting Your Marketing Technology Budget

Don’t Waste Your Marketing Tech Budget

This year, the irresistible pull of digital marketing met an unstoppable force: Girl Scout cookies. It’s an $800 million-a-year fundraiser that is only expected to increase with a newly announced addition of digital sales.

The New York Times reports that beginning in this month and into January, for the first time, the Girl Scouts of America will be able to sell Thin Mints and other favorites online through invite-only websites. The websites will be accompanied by a mobile app, giving customers new digital options.

As the Girl Scouts update from a door-to-door approach to include a newly introduced digital program, it’s just one more sign of where marketing trends are heading.

From digital cookies to digital marketing technology:

If 2014 is the year of the digital cookie, then 2015 will be the year of marketing technology. Here’s just a few of the strongest indicators:

  • A study found that 67% of marketing departments plan to increase spending on technology over the next two years, according to the Harvard Business Review.
  • Gartner predicts that by 2017, CMOs will outspend CIOs on IT-related expenses.
  • Also by 2017, one-third of the total marketing budget will be dedicated to digital marketing, according to survey results from Teradata.
  • A new LinkedIn/Salesforce survey found that 56% of marketers see their relationships with the CIO as very important or critical.
  • Social media is a mainstream channel for marketers, making technology for measuring and managing this channel of paramount importance. This is not just true of B2C companies. Of high level executive B2B buyers, 75% used social media to make purchasing decisions, according to a 2014 survey by market research firm IDC.

From social to analytics to email marketing, much of what marketers see in technology offerings is often labeled as “cloud-based.” While cloud technology has many features and benefits, what are we really saying when we talk about the cloud?

What the cloud means… to marketers.

Beginning around 2012, multitudes of businesses in many industries began adapting “the cloud” as a feature or a benefit to their products or services. Whether or not the business truly was cloud-based was not as clear, which led to the term “cloudwashing.” We hear the so much about cloud, it is easy for us to overlook what it really means and what the benefits really are.

The cloud is more than a buzzword – and in particular, marketers need to know what it truly means to them.

For marketers, “the cloud” has many benefits. A service that is cloud-based gives you amazing flexibility and choices over the way you use a product or service:

  • A cloud-enabled product or service can be integrated into your existing systems. For marketers, this can range from integration into websites, marketing automation systems, CRMs, point-of-sale platforms, and any other business application.
  • You don’t have to learn a new system, the way you might when adapting a new application, software, or other enterprise system. You won’t have to set aside a lot of time and effort for new training for you or your staff.
  • Due to the flexibility that lets you integrate anywhere, you can deploy a cloud-based product or service across all of your organization’s applications or processes, increasing efficiencies and ensuring that all of your employees have access to the same technology tools at the same time.
  • There’s no need to worry about ongoing system updates, as those happen automatically behind the scenes.

In 2015, marketers should embrace the convenience of cloud-based services, as they help put the focus on benefits instead of spending time managing the technology.

Are you using data quality in the cloud?

If you are planning to move data out of an on-premise application or software to a cloud-based service, you can take advantage of this ideal time to ensure these data quality best practices are in place.

Verify and cleanse your data first, before it is moved to the cloud. Since it’s likely that your move to the cloud will make this data available across your organization — within marketing, sales, customer service, and other departments — applying data quality best practices first will increase operational efficiency and bring down costs from invalid or unusable data.

There may be more to add to this list, depending on the nature of your own business. Make sure that:

  • Postal addresses are valid, accurate, current and complete
  • Email addresses are valid
  • Telephone numbers are valid, accurate, and current
  • Increase the effectiveness of future data analysis by making sure all data fields are consistent and every individual data element is clearly defined
  • Fill in missing data
  • Remove duplicate contact and customer records

Once you have cleansed and verified your existing data and move it to the cloud, use a real-time verification and cleansing solution at the point of entry or point of collection in real-time to ensure good data quality across your organization on an ongoing basis.

The biggest roadblock to effective marketing technology is: Bad data.

Budgeting for marketing technology is going to become a bigger and bigger piece of the pie (or cookie, if you prefer) for B2C and B2B organizations alike. The first step all marketers need to take to make sure those investments fully pay off and don’t go wasted is great customer data.

Marketing technology is fueled by data. A recent Harvard Business Review article listed some of the most important marketing technologies. They included tools for analytics, conversion, email, search engine marketing, remarketing, mobile, and marketing automation.

What do they all have in common? These tools all drive customer communication, engagement, and relationships, all of which require valid and actionable customer data to work at all.

You can’t plan your marketing strategy off of data that tells you the wrong things about who your customers are, how they prefer to be contacted, and what messages work the best. Make data quality a major part of your 2015 marketing technology planning to get the most from your investment.

Marketing technology is going to be big in 2015 — where do you start?

With all of this in mind, how can marketers prepare for their technology needs in 2015? Get started with this free virtual conference from MarketingProfs that is totally focused on marketing technology.

This great event includes a keynote from Teradata’s CMO, Lisa Arthur, on “Using Data to Build Strong Marketing Strategies.” Register here for the December 12 Marketing Technology Virtual Conference from MarketingProfs.

Even if you can’t make it live that day at the virtual conference, it’s still smart to sign up so you receive on-demand recordings from the sessions when the event ends. Register now!

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Posted in Cloud, Data Migration, Data Quality, Data Services | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Data-Driven CMO: A Q&A with Glenn Gow (CEO of Crimson Research)

Q&A with Crimson Research

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!

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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Posted in Big Data, CMO, Customer Acquisition & Retention, Operational Efficiency, Vibe | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment