Wednesday, July 5, 2017

How Data Silos Spoil Marketing Harvests

Silos can be great for agricultural storage, but they spell trouble when we're talking about customer data trapped in company departmental and systems silos. Research shows the magnitude of the problem. For example, a recent blog post by Veriday, a digital marketing company, noted that more than 80% of marketers say data silos within marketing obscure a seamless view of campaigns and customers. And that doesn't even consider data trapped outside marketing in IT, sales, etc. In larger, older companies, many data silos result when outdated processes and separate information systems hamper linkages. Yet silos are not just a big-business issue given the average small business today is using 14.3 different systems, as the Veriday post points out. Yes, information can be transferred between silos via import/export or manual efforts, but this risks duplication, errors, delays, inconsistent hygiene and inaccurate updating--meaning poor immediate ROI and wasted future opportunities from an incomplete and inaccurate picture of customers, campaigns and channel results. In business-to-consumer marketing, data silo risks are growing more acute, stresses a Forbes magazine article by Denise Persson, CMO at Snowflake, a data warehouse firm. She cites Accenture survey results showing that, while the promise of a deal or discount was the top driver of customer loyalty last year, in 2017, 58% of customers find marketing programs that are highly tailored to their needs much more enticing. Marketers can embrace targeted, contextual approaches, but, Persson warns, if each marketing channel--website, social media, e-mail, online ads, direct mail--uses a different set of data to develop a different channel strategy, marketers will end up with a fragmented customer picture delivering a fragmented brand experience! Smart marketers will invest in solutions, such as third-party support, software for content management and marketing automation, and data warehousing. Meanwhile, a blog post by Ajay Gupta, founder of Stirista, a digital marketing agency, points out the myopia of failing to link business and consumer data, especially now that digital media is blurring the line between professional and personal lives. Gupta gives the example of a company that wants to market a personal electronic device by targeting a proven business prospect list with only B2B e-mail addresses. If the company enhances the prospects' B2B info with B2C data, it could expand its reach by sending out e-mails to B2C addresses, direct mail to home addresses, online display ads via digital cookies, plus targeted social media ads! Linking B2B and B2C data is also a great tool for onboarding and creating social media custom audiences, per Gupta. For more detail, see

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