Add Data Operations to Accelerate Your Revenue Marketing Journey

In last month’s blog post, we discussed the second of the five core marketing processes essential to effective and efficient marketing operations — the reporting and analytics process. We ended by asking if you were a data-driven decision-making organization. So it is timely that this month we discuss the marketing process as it relates to data.

If content is the fuel of your revenue marketing journey, data is the wheels.
If content is the fuel of your revenue marketing journey, data is the wheels.

In last month’s blog post, we discussed the second of the five core marketing processes essential to effective and efficient marketing operations — the reporting and analytics process. We ended by asking if you were a data-driven decision-making organization. So it is timely that this month we discuss the marketing process as it relates to data.

On your revenue marketing journey, if content is the fuel, and analytics is your dashboard, then data are surely the wheels and tires on your marketing vehicle. There’s an adage in auto racing that races are won in the pits, and the tire changes that happen there affect the race strategy and must be suited to the course. Similarly, your data will dictate where you can go, and how fast you can get there. It will be impossible to become a data-driven decision making organization if the data quality or richness is poor. Having a resource in marketing who is responsible for data operations is becoming a requirement for successful marketing.

Marketing data is fragmented and getting more so every day Research by Experian uncovered that 84 percent of organizations are experiencing data quality issues. During the same period Gartner predicted that by 2017 89 percent of businesses will compete mainly on customer experience. Compounding these issues is the explosion in marketing technologies, which further fragments data. In addition, Lyris tells us that 25 percent to 33 percent of email addresses in a house database will become outdated every year. “Houston, we have a problem.” So the importance of clean data is increasing while at the same time only 16 percent of organizations think their data is clean. Clearly, marketing organizations need to act. You need a data strategy and the resources to execute on it.

Setting Goals for Data Operations

We all want to improve the customer experience, improve engagement with customers through many channels, improve business intelligence and streamline operations, but we cannot reach these goals without addressing data challenges.

This breaks down into a few simple goals:

  • Manage the quality of the data more effectively
  • Develop a single customer view for marketing (customer data platform or CDP)
  • Formalize and manage the data architecture that binds together the many sales and marketing technologies
  • Enrich our database and acquire third-party data to boost overall contact database quality and marketing potential
  • Develop processes and plans to establish governance and use of marketing and sales data

These challenges can be summed up in a single, overarching need that stems from five critical questions:

5 critical questions for data quality.
5 critical questions for data quality.

Steps to Manage High-quality Data Operations

  • Step 1: Complete a full data audit
  • Step 2: Define a data strategy
  • Step 3: Establish data quality management as a primary function of a marketing data operations group.
  • Step 4: Leverage marketing intelligence operations to report on data quality

What is data operations for marketing you ask? What are all the pieces, and what does marketing own versus what does IT own when it comes to data?Data Operations for Marketing

In larger organizations marketing operations will likely have a data operations resource. Their responsibilities include:

  • data quality management
  • CDP
  • database operations
  • marketing intelligence
  • data architecture management
  • data acquisition and enrichment

This resource will not need to address the areas covered by the broader IT organization:

  • business intelligence system deployment
  • master data management (MDM)
  • data security management
  • document and content management
  • data storage management

At a very tactical level the data operations person will own the data import and enrichment processes. They will be responsible for the right data being available in the right marketing system, which will ensure effective marketing execution and great customer experience with marketing digital properties.

Next month we will discuss the campaign development process and the distinctive requirements of a campaign manager and traffic manager.

Please feel free to share your experiences with marketing data operations and other insights on the above topics in the comments section below or email me at kevin@pedowitzgroup.com.

5 Reasons for ‘Why Now?’

With the lingering, precarious feelings about the state of the economy, along with plenty of concerns about the business climate in general, I find that there is always a great deal of hesitation around beginning any kind of large- or even medium-complexity project focused on data. In many instances, the general consensus from senior management and even ancillary groups outside of the marketing and data management groups is the company has been doing fine with everything just the way it is, with plenty of “If it ain’t broken we don’t need to fix it” or “Let’s focus on increasing revenue this quarter first” pushback to proposed projects.

With the lingering, precarious feelings about the state of the economy, along with plenty of concerns about the business climate in general, I find that there is always a great deal of hesitation around beginning any kind of large- or even medium-complexity project focused on data. In many instances, the general consensus from senior management and even ancillary groups outside of the marketing and data management groups is the company has been doing fine with everything just the way it is, with plenty of “If it ain’t broken we don’t need to fix it” or “Let’s focus on increasing revenue this quarter first” pushback to proposed projects.

The problem with the first is, quite simply, if corporate data has been ignored, or even just on the back burner for any length of time, it is most assuredly broken. Perhaps it is not critically broken yet, but losing clarity, focus and relevancy in keeping up with the evolving goals of the organization. Bloated with obsolete or irrelevant information and systems fragmented; lagging behind on improvements and upgrades, databases become slow, unreliable and frustrating for both the front-line users and for their management teams who are looking for answers that are surely there but, unfortunately, cannot be mined with the speed and efficiency expected. Of course, when this occurs the frustrations grow and we begin to see various business groups take what pieces of data fit their responsibilities and start building and updating the silos which eventually hamper, rather than contribute to, enterprise-wide success. There is no feedback of newer and more relevant information to the main repository; there is no coordination of contact strategy or organized tempo or voice to communication. What evolves is chaos in overlapping or possibly opposing communication from different areas of the same company. It is a sure way to spur the erosion of customer respect for your products and services, along with a vision of incompetence from prospective customers confused by who you are and where you are trying to lead them.

The problem with this is most organizations will not recognize it as a problem. The groups creating the silos and working from there are perfectly happy to have their own source of whatever data they need. No hassles with requests or production queues. They are able to report the results of their efforts in isolation so management only has to see the rosiest picture. Unfortunately—and exactly because of the isolation factor—little if any sales, lead generation, updates or contact changes ever make it back to the primary data warehouse and the remainder of the organization is not able to share in the refreshed information that will help their efforts, as well.

The cure for that, and the answer to the “Let’s wait” feedback, is for the marketing and IT leaders to jointly be prepared with a roadmap of “Why now” proposals for the value of organizational refresh and consolidation that can resonate across the enterprise.

1. Cost containment: With a single platform view of customers and prospects, with vigorous updates and enhancements from every touchpoint, campaigns are able to be streamlined, based on full knowledge of RFM. Consolidation of duplicated software and vendor charges that are being utilized across multiple silos will allow every department to free up much-needed budget space.

2. Increased Productivity: With budget room made available, allocations can be shifted to incorporate the speed and upgrade solutions within the existing resources. Increasing both throughput and volume while optimizing manpower performance and efficiency.

3. Reducing Risk: Utilizing a centralized team to oversee data operations ultimately reduces the risk and exposure caused by violations of corporate policies, governmental regulations and industry best practices. Contact preferences are able to be maintained and shared across all corporate business units on every channel.

4. Customer Journey: No responsible marketer deliberately sets out to overwhelm, annoy or even spam existing customers and prospects. Without centralized deployment and tracking, however, you will be doing exactly that, oblivious to the damage you are doing to your reputation.

5. Increased Revenue: Removing all of the risks, poor decisions and duplication of effort alone will create a much more streamlined approach to providing all of the proper and most effective strategies for finding, developing, nurturing and hopefully establishing long-lasting client relationships. Consumers, regardless if in a B-to-C or B-to-B environment, buy from companies they respect and trust. Revenue grows and is sustained just as steadily by the quality of your relationship with customers as it is by the quality of your products and services.

Healthy, professional relationships and contact strategy are the value-added-benefits you can quantify and demonstrate to even the most ardent rebels across the company. Use the data you have readily available in your system to show every business unit leader the facts. Prove to them the upside potential that a solid, professional and, most of all, highly reliable marketing automation or CRM solution can provide in boosting revenue year over year. Stealthily, but honestly turn the naysayers into advocates with clean and simple facts.

Do that, and the conversation shifts from “Why Now?” to “How Soon?”