Digital Marketing is Like Hansel – So Hot Right Now

SnapLogic Digital MarketingIn their Top 10 CMO predictions, IDC predicts that digital marketing investment will exceed 50% of total program budget by 2016. According to Gartner VP of research Laura McLellan, “marketing is now the central engine of growth for many companies” and by 2017 the CMO will spend more on IT than the IT department. But while most marketers I know are bullish on data, they continue to struggle with basic data access and integration challenges. It’s not that they don’t have enough marketing applications or data that they could access – check out this great 2014 Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic. It’s pretty amazing…and also pretty scary!

The primary challenge faced by the majority of marketers I know is the inability to access high quality, highly relevant, and well integrated data from the growing number of marketing channels they’re investing in. They’re data rich, but insight poor. IDC recognized a number of data needs and challenges in their 10 Predictions on the Role of the Chief Marketing Officer. I’ve highlighted the predictions related to better data access, analytics and integration below:

  1. The CMO role becomes “open for definition” as today’s CMO job description becomes considerably more complex and critical
  2. Innovative CMO and CIO pairs will throw out the rule book when it comes to IT’s support of Marketing
  3. By 2020, the Marketing function in leading companies will be radically reshaped into three organizational “systems” – content, channels, and consumption (data)
  4. The best marketers will understand that “Content Marketing” does not equal “Thought Leadership”
  5. Multi-channel coverage becomes an opportunity and a challenge area, as CMOs integrate media silos
  6. 80% of customer data will be wasted due to immature enterprise data “value chains”
  7. By the end of 2014, 60% of CMOs will have formal recruiting process for people with data skills
  8. Only 20% of marketers will receive formal training on analytics and customer data management
  9. Fragmented marketing IT point products and low adoption rate will inhibit companies’ ability to win customers
  10. Digital marketing investment will exceed 50% of total program budget by 2016

So digital marketing is like Hansel – so hot right now and multi-channel marketing ROI is king (a French reference for my friend Dave Kellogg). But fundamental data access and integration continue to be major challenge. What to do? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Stop saying you’re “data driven” and start acting like it. You’ll find very quickly that it’s a lot easier said than done.
  2. Stop investing in more marketing channels if you can’t measure the results of your current mix.
  3. Stop investing in more analytical tools without investing in a truly agile analytics infrastructure. Increasingly this will be in the cloud.
  4. Ensure you have analytical people on your team. If you don’t, invest in training now.
  5. Establish a culture of self-service data access and integration with your IT organization. Without this, numbers 1-4 are irrelevant.

Digital marketing and the shift to data-driven marketing will be a hot topic in 2014. SnapLogic’s Maneesh Joshi went so far as to predict that Digital Marketing Platforms will Take Over the World!

What other suggestions do you have to overcome the data access and integration obstacles and barriers so many marketers face? Do you agree with my suggestions?

Happy New Year!

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