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In a time when marketing specialists are facing larger amounts of data every day, they have yet to learn more about leveraging the full potential of marketing analytics. In fact, for many companies extracting useful information from the piles of marketing data they generate is still quite the challenge - еspecially when it comes to mapping out the wants and needs of their customers.

A 2016 report by IBM and Econsultancy sheds light on the fact that only 4% of companies have a frequently updated strategy in place for optimizing their customer journey, while 75% are either beginning to develop one or don’t have any at all.

It’s clear that many are still in the very early stages of embracing the potential of marketing data. And that will have to change soon.

Failing to integrate your data

Without a doubt, marketing data is the key to knowing your customers: what they look for, what they want, need and what they’re willing to spend their money on. With their online activity, however, being scattered across various platforms and channels - anything from websites and blogs, to social media, newsletters and forums - so is the data they generate.

As a matter of fact, having to handle multichannel touchpoints is what slows many companies down. Only 3% of businesses have been able to fully integrate them, while 24% manage them entirely in silos. The remaining more than 70% of companies polled admitted to a certain degree of integration, though mainly channel-focused.

We have previously talked about silos, and we’re convinced of one thing: They must go. The problem is that silos prevent marketing professionals from having a single overview of their data, making it difficult to detect irrelevancies. The key to solving this is by breaking them down and having all output up to date, in one place, and shared among all relevant stakeholders.

The good thing about marketing data is that you have plenty of it. It’s coming at you from a number of different channels and, in theory, you can use it to derive the most specific of insights about your customers. Well, in practice, too, as long as you have the right tools at hand.

Pulling data from its original source and turning it into actionable insights is a lengthy and often complex process. Especially, if you want to be able to analyze it in near-real time, you need to be able to collect it, clean and harmonize it, and process it as it is being generated.

Next-generation marketing analytics tools can help you with the first few steps of that process, leaving you with the task to analyze your (clean and normalized!) data, and transform it into value-generating insights.

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Failing to affect change with your data

Now, we have so far placed a strong emphasis on the need for marketers to work with quality data in order to understand their customers’ needs and respond effectively to them.

It is true, however, that being able to generate high-quality data is only half of a job well done. The other half is being able to interpret your data so that it creates long-term impact. You need to be able to provide real value to your customers. Makes sense, right? Yes, but it isn’t always that simple.

Creating value with your marketing data is about making several things happen at the same time: getting the right data in the hands of the right company stakeholders, at the right time, to drive the right decisions. At the end of the day, it’s about having clean and ready-to-use data as much as it is about having the right people pursuing the right objectives with it. 

So break down those silos, get your marketing data flowing across your organization, and create the value that your customers are looking for!

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Written by Eugen Knippel

Passionate marketer and travller. Loves sports, Thai Food and spending time with friends and family. Talk to him about videogames, datadriven advertising and internet pop culture on Twitter @euglilcious

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