Connecting the Data Dots

In this day and age, many marketers exist in a paradoxical state: they’re data-rich but insights-poor. Marketers have an influx in customer data. However, having the ability to understand these vast amounts of information hasn’t necessarily kept the same pace. Marketers know they have to build more complete customer profiles and to connect the dots (i.e., apply insights) at the consumer level across multiple marketing channels.  How do they plan on getting there?

That’s exactly what we asked. Yesmail partnered with Infogroup Targeting Solutions and surveyed 700+ top marketers at the DMA2012 Annual Conference and Forrester Research’s eBusiness Forum. We made some striking findings. For instance, 68% of marketers expect their data-related expenditures to increase in 2013. While this stat reveals most marketers are making data-driven strategy a priority this year, they’re all at different stops on the data train.

Regardless, marketing goals generally maintain a common thread: better targeting, more efficient campaigns, greater customer retention, and ultimately, higher revenue. In order to meet these objectives, brands need the right systems and people in place to manage data collection, hygiene, analysis, and application.

1. Data Collection: As consumers become increasingly fragmented, digital technology has made customer data more accessible and measureable than ever before. (Not to mention, the implementation costs per customer are marginal.)

For example, using email analytic tools, brands can gauge both inferred and declared customer interests via open and clickthrough rates. Utilizing web tracking solutions, marketers can also target customers based on transactional data such as purchase history to trigger automated email campaigns. These data-driven programs lead to enhanced marketing personalization.

2. Data Hygiene: Though collecting data has become significantly easier, cleaning data—not so much. Data maintenance should take place on a weekly or at least monthly basis. However, more than a quarter of marketers we surveyed couldn’t remember the last time they cleaned their data.

Other respondents had even been hoarding transactional data that’s a decade-plus old. Don’t waste time using outdated, duplicate, or junk data. Your campaign performance and sending reputation will thank you, since you won’t target disinterested prospects or end up on an ISP blacklist.

3. Data Analysis: The volume and speed of data collection today can exceed our ability to comprehend it all. Data systems are great for storage, identifying trends and running models. However, dedicated analysts are the ones who build the customer profiles and figure out how to leverage this information to target the right segments appropriately. Analysts make the customer data work and this is crucial, as customers expect you to know them. When we asked marketers if they plan on hiring new employees to handle data analysis this year, one in five respondents said they expect to hire a data analyst or strategist.

4. Data Application: Data comes full circle in the application stage, when insights garnered from analysis are applied and executed. As digital marketing campaigns become more data-driven over time, targeting and messaging become more effective.  For these improvements to be continual, it’s important to remember that marketing programs should maintain consistency across channels and performance results should be measured on an ongoing basis.

While there’s a lot of work to do in order for marketers to catch up with their customer information, data doesn’t have to be overwhelming with the right infrastructure and people in place. Once data is collected, cleaned, analyzed, and applied, it reveals its own value and justifies future data-related investments.

To learn more about how marketers are planning on overcoming Big Data challenges, click here to download the complimentary report.

Author Bio

Michael Fisher

As President, Yes Lifecycle Marketing, Michael brings together three practices – Yes Data and Technology Services, Yes Agency Services, and Yesmail Interactive – to provide marketers with an integrated, full-service approach for delivering relevant marketing messages from a single vendor. This holistic approach aligns multichannel marketing platforms and data, with analytics and agency services, giving marketers a single services and technology provider delivering a unified, complete services model. Additionally, Michael serves as President of Yes Lifecycle Marketing’s email services and technology practice, Yesmail Interactive. Through Michael’s leadership, Yesmail’s technology and innovation teams bring to market advanced analytic options, market and social intelligence solutions, and sophisticated trigger tools, to advance the results of clients’ marketing communication strategies. This relentless pursuit of client satisfaction and result-driven improvements at Yesmail are now being recognized by our customers and the marketplace with the recent win of The Relevancy Group’s The Relevancy Ring – ESP Buyers’ Guide 2014, Gold Customer Satisfaction Award, as well as being named a leader, in the enterprise sector. Prior to Yesmail Interactive, Michael was Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for The America at Alterian. There he brought together industry visionaries to define and create a new service model focused on opening a two-way dialogue with customers through multichannel engagement. The result of these efforts, the advent of the Customer Engagement Agency, aimed to provide marketers with a 360 degree view into consumer behavior by integrating data, and the necessary skills such as analytics, strategy, creative and technology thus allowing marketers to create individualized dialogs that break down the silo barriers that exist in today’s traditional service delivery organizations. Before joining Alterian, Michael served as Vice President and General Manager of the financial services group at Epsilon, a leading relationship marketing company. Prior to his tenure at Epsilon, Michael was Senior Vice President of Sales at DoubleClick (formerly Protagona Worldwide) for their Marketing Automation software solutions. Additionally, Michael was instrumental in developing what was known as DoubleClick's Ensemble suite for the banking and insurance industries, and is currently part of the Teradata Relationship Management suite of tools. Rounding out his experience, Michael held various sales and consultancy positions at Unisys Corporation, a leading global technology and services company. Michael has been a pioneer in relationship marketing over the past 20 years, building a strong reputation of leadership, sales growth and customer satisfaction. Michael holds a Masters of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Lewis University and BS in Communication from Illinois State University.