Most marketers grapple with data in all its forms every day.
It’s flooding in from multiple sources in every organisation and it’s not getting easier to work with – in spite of the rise of marketing automation, salesforce automation, customer relationship management and financial management software. AI and machine learning will add to the noise, generating more data and insights which need to be assessed and used or discarded depending on the context.
If anything, the reliance on these platforms has made data a master rather than a slave – and not a particularly benevolent one.
The ability to damage brand, disenfranchise customers and lose prospects can be performed at a scale and velocity previously unimagined. The wrong email to a customer database can be delivered in seconds.
Not that long ago, in many industries, marketers didn’t need to know more than the basics when it came to data collection, management and use. Arguably, FMCG has always been the exception where deep diving data streams from retail outlets was critical for carving out categories, driving sales, maintaining profit and informing product development.
Today, as a marketer if you really can’t pull datasets apart and apply at least rudimentary analysis and management tools, it can be difficult to make a lasting difference in an organisation.
Yet, in our experience, many marketers do struggle with data. Keeping it clean and useable, the basic hygiene factors needed to make it useful, can seem unsurmountable when it simply floods into databases unchecked.
So what’s the answer?
Our short paper, Are you in data denial?, offers some practical pointers to get you heading in the right direction or at least baseline your own organisation’s approach to data control and management, particularly in relation to the marketing function.
Data is the lifeblood of most organisations, yet too many organisations neglect their data until it gets to a point where the data is almost useless. Data starts to get out of control when it’s not maintained regularly. Like dishes piling up in the sink, the database gets messier and messier until it just seems too hard to fix. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Managing your data effectively can be easier than you think and the rewards include reduced costs and increased sales.
Many vendors focus on partner recruitment and pipeline building to establish themselves in a new market or accelerate growth. However, this can create a gap when it comes to effective partner relationship management (PRM).
Small channel sales teams can quickly become overwhelmed by manual PRM processes once a channel network starts to grow. As the number of partners in your channel expands, there is an exponential demand on your channel resources. Requests for marketing support, sales information, market development funds (MDF) and ad hoc requests scale beyond the daily capacity of most channel teams.
Whether you care to admit it or not, your marketing database is riddled with old and useless data. You should be worried. Data decay is costing you money. Your direct marketing activities won’t generate sales if your database is littered with inaccurate information.
Data decay happens faster than you think. Try this simple exercise. Ask a room of business people to mark every word or number on their business card that’s changed in the last 12 months. New employees should highlight the entire card as all of their data changed the day they started. You’ll be alarmed by the number of changes that have occurred. A similar study was carried out in 2002 by John Coe, President & Founder The Sales & Marketing Institute. The results were staggering. An incredible “70.8 per cent had one or more changes in a 12-month period”.
As marketing and communications professionals we spend a lot of time worrying about what is said and how it’s being communicated both internally and externally. I have strong feelings about internal communications. One of my strongest opinions is that at the end of the day what we say isn’t enough. What we do speaks volumes our words never will.
I was pondering this as my team participated recently in The Cancer Council’s Biggest Morning Tea and is currently engaged in the Global Corporate Challenge. Great examples of what our culture is – get involved, get active, do good things and be consistent.
January is a great time to look at things with fresh eyes. I know I have been doing this not only for clients but also in my own business.
- What are we currently doing?
- What is delivering results?
- What should we improve?
- What’s our strategic goal for the year ahead?
- Is what we’re doing now contributing to that goal or distracting us from the things that can contribute to that goal?
- Do we have the right people, in the right seats on our bus?
- Have we given those people the right tools to help them succeed?