Larger and richer collections of customer data are increasing available. That’s the good news. But most of that data is wasted. That's the bad news. Poor data practices remain one of the biggest hurdles to marketing success.
Here are four ways that companies squander data and recommendations about how to stop the waste:
Data is Missing: A huge amount of customer data is available but is just not collected. Your ultimate goal should be to capture interaction and behavioral data at every touch point.
What to do: Acquire the data. Invest in marketing technology and services that capture data and in data management technology to store it for analysis. IDC finds that tech marketing leaders invest more than three times the amount of funds in marketing technology than their laggard cousins. Big data is the marketer's friend. Providing lots of data to your analysts will enable them to predict the next best offer, discern buyer preferences, determine marketing program attribution, improve conversion rates, and much more.
Data is Unavailable: Some customer data is captured in company systems, but is trapped where marketing can't access it. Marketing needs information on customers from a broad array of sources from both inside and outside the enterprise. Sales data, purchasing data, and customer service data, are examples of internally available data critical to seeing the full customer picture.
What to do: Aggregate the data. C-Suite executives must rush to the aid of marketing if they want to get full value from the function. To stop measurement at the MQL or even sales "closed loop" is insufficient for the full customer picture. Pay particular attention to converting unstructured data into structured data so it can help drive the content customization and delivery process.
Data is Junk: Sometimes customer data is captured, but is meaningless.
What to do: Analyze the data. You must be able to separate the signal from the noise. The first step is to gain a baseline understanding of the journeys taken by your best customers. This point of view will give you a filter. CMOs need to invest in the tools and skills needed to gain insight from the data and tell a relevant business story.
Data is Late: Some meaningful data is captured, aggregated, analyzed – but the whole process takes too long for any relevant action to occur.
What to do: Act on the data. The point of data investment is to develop a rich understanding of the customer's context so the most relevant response (typically content) can be delivered to them. In a digital dialog, a response is expected on the other side of every click. Data needs to be made readily available to decision engines and content management systems so that they can take action.