The Dirty Little Secret of Data-Driven Marketing: Fragmentation Kills Innovation
For me, data-driven & CDP marketing is just beginning. It’s in a stage of infancy due to one thing: silos of data are everywhere. Read on and I’ll tell you why.
There are marketing data silos and there are channel silos, and although they are breaking down, companies aren’t getting their data to come together.
Let’s start with one example. First party data (your customer data) and third party data (all that adtech cookie stuff) is not connected by anyone. Companies struggle to utilize the data they create in-house. Then when you add in the data that’s generated from third party vendors and there is no easy solution to bring all of that information together.
Here’s another example, digital and offline data are two big silos that are almost like two different continents. Then, within each continent, there are small countries. Each country represents different data: digital, offline, mobile, social, etc. Most companies have a number of different vendors managing all of the data generated. Since the data is fragmented and not in one place, it’s almost impossible for marketers to truly know how programs are performing.
The Curious Case of the New York Times
Look at the New York Times website. You’ll see they are using fifty different vendors that track data; you can see that from the tags. Each one of these vendors is a different small silo of digital data or a different country. Now if you’re wondering – why would they do that? – well, it happens because the tags are simple to use and easy to deploy.
Unfortunately, no one is thinking about how to get all of that data together or which of these data sources are redundant. No one is saying, “okay we’ll keep this one, but get rid of that one” and they are not saying it because they need small pieces of data from each source to determine anything. Often companies are adding additional tags to get one more piece of data vs. looking at the bigger picture and figuring out how to bring the data together.
As I said, digital data is a continent, but it has 150 countries, and none of them are talking to each other. And the vendor approach these companies have taken was good because they got their little service up and running very quickly and could manage all of the data. However, the ultimate problem with marketing technology today is, instead of leveraging the data that is already in place, they generate new data about the same events and the same customers that everyone else is creating and still don’t know what to do with it.
The constant creation of new data leaves companies without a clear picture of what the customer’s wants and needs are at any given time. So a company could continue to send a customer discount coupons via email, when what they need is a follow-up email discussing the issue they lodged with customer support last week.
Since the same signals are siloed in different vendors, you have more data but not more quality data. Instead of your data becoming richer it just becomes more fragmented every time you add a new digital service to the fold. When you add in the offline data – loyalty data, customer support service data, etc. – you have even more data that isn’t connected to the existing digital data deepening the fragmentation.
Companies today need a solution to fix their data fragmentation challenges, they need to be able to integrate all data points they have about a customer, they need a single view into a customer. Once companies have a single customer view they are able to provide a better personalized experience for each customer across all channels. An improved customer experience makes for a happy customer that is likely to shop with you again.