Data is the most valuable currency for marketers working today. Among other things, it allows you to build up detailed, relevant and responsive pictures of the people who use your products and services. As a result, you can deliver the best possible experiences and build long-term, mutually rewarding customer relationships.
The statistics show just how important it is for businesses to embrace data-driven marketing. One in three elite marketers believe having the right technologies in place for data collection and analysis is the most useful step towards truly understanding customers, according to Econsultancy and IBM.
Furthermore, research by Forrester and the Direct Marketing Association has highlighted understanding customer interactions across all touchpoints as the number one challenge for marketing professionals.
More than half (55%) of marketers surveyed for Econsultancy and Adobe’s 2019 Digital Trends Report said 'better use of data for audience targeting' is a priority for this year.
So it’s clear that leveraging measurable benefits from data is hugely important for modern businesses. However, many firms still have questions about the most effective way to go about securing these benefits. How can you make data really work for you?
One of the fundamental steps on this journey is unifying your data, which can make a huge contribution to efficiency and overall return on investment for your marketing efforts.
This requires careful planning that takes into account some of the biggest challenges to data unification. Here are some of the most important stages of the process:
Break down silos
Abandoning fragmented, silo-based ways of working to offer more streamlined services is an important objective for many modern-day businesses. Some analysts argue that silos are simply bad for business, while others have suggested the picture is more nuanced, with some enterprises able to benefit from departmental silos.
When it comes to collecting and managing marketing data, having departments, teams and channels separated into distinct silos can be a barrier to success, because it makes it harder to unify your data and create a clear picture of anything from customer behavior to interactions to sales conversions.
Getting rid of silos is no simple task, especially if your organization has been operating in this way for a long time. However, there are various strategies you can use to encourage collaboration and information sharing, such as:
- Arranging inter-departmental training and project exercises
- Introducing software that makes it quick and easy to communicate and share data
- Setting unified goals from the top down
Streamline data sources
With so many sources and channels funneling data into your business, one of the biggest challenges is finding a way to streamline all this information and derive tangible insights and value from it.
Fortunately, software development firms are well aware of this need and offer solutions to help companies meet it. By finding a system and a method that works well for your firm, you can ensure you are unifying your data with maximum efficiency and gaining results from it.
This looks set to become a bigger priority for many organizations in the years to come, with the big data and analytics market set to reach a global value of $40.6 billion by 2023, according to Research and Markets.
Measuring the full customer journey
One of the most important types of information for all modern enterprises is customer data. Without an in-depth, intelligence-driven profile of your customers, what’s important to them and how they behave, you have little chance of winning their business, let alone earning their loyalty.
To build up this detailed picture, you need to track and analyze every stage of the customer journey. Failing to do so is one of the biggest mistakes a company can make, according to Sean Downey, Vice President of media platforms at Google, who tells a story about a time an online retailer went down in his estimation because it hadn’t used real-time data or historical insights to deliver a relevant, personalized experience.
Tracking customer journeys and preferences across various channels and touchpoints makes a major contribution to the overall quality of your data. Bringing this information together will help you give your customers want they want and earn their loyalty.
Attribution modeling is linked to the process of collecting data from the widest possible range of sources and channels. Armed with this information, you can use attribution modeling to ascertain how the various components of your marketing campaigns, sales channels and customer acquisition methods are working alongside each other.
If you are able to find the right attribution model for your business, you can come up with a clearer idea of which marketing, engagement and brand awareness methods are proving the most effective.
This process has an important part to play in your overall efforts to unify marketing data and gain results for your business by understanding how your customers behave.