With siloed depart­ments and dis­parate data across mul­ti­ple sys­tems, it’s dif­fi­cult to cre­ate a uni­fied view of a customer—unless you inte­grate. Below is the sec­tion I recently con­tributed to the lat­est Exact­Tar­get Let­ters to the C-Suite series with guid­ance on improv­ing access to data and stream­lin­ing busi­ness processes.

In recent years, as inter­ac­tive mar­ket­ing has leapt ahead again and again in terms of new ways to reach con­sumers and prospects, B2B and B2C mar­keters have needed to keep up with and learn a host of new technologies—making the world of the online mar­keter more com­plex than ever. It’s a tes­ta­ment to our teams’ flex­i­bil­ity and inno­va­tion that we have been able to con­cep­tu­al­ize and use such a vari­ety of dif­fer­ent tools—email, search mar­ket­ing, site search, ad serv­ing, and inter­ac­tive tools, to name a few—in such a rel­a­tively short amount of time.

Many of these mar­ket­ing strate­gies have allowed us to under­stand pur­chas­ing habits to reach our prospects when and where they want to be reached, and to bet­ter engage with cus­tomers. But as we’ve rushed to cre­ate and imple­ment such a vari­ety of multi-channel tac­tics, it has been dif­fi­cult for us to inte­grate and under­stand the over­all effec­tive­ness of each of these chan­nels and cam­paigns. Suc­cess depends on being able to know and prove which cam­paigns are deliv­er­ing ROI—and for those that aren’t, being able to rapidly adjust tac­tics to max­i­mize per­for­mance is a must.

That means that inter­ac­tive mar­keters have had to work with a vari­ety of tech­nolo­gies and ser­vice providers to cre­ate order across pro­grams. All too often, this has lead to mar­keters using one set of met­rics to look at search mar­ket­ing, another to look at pur­chase data, another for email mar­ket­ing, and oth­ers for tech­nolo­gies like social media or video. The result is a frag­mented dis­ci­pline that has mar­ket­ing teams look­ing at stats from a vari­ety of ven­dors, try­ing to com­pare apples to oranges. Often, in spite of the tremen­dous strides we have made in reach­ing new cus­tomers, we are left pulling our hair out in frustration.

Mar­keters need a new tech­nol­ogy frame­work to fill inter­ac­tive marketing’s short­com­ings. Such a frame­work would lead to inter­ac­tive mar­ket­ing orga­ni­za­tions finally own­ing a set of skills stan­dard­ized around tech­nol­ogy, ana­lyt­ics, and strate­gic plan­ning, lead­ing to better

account­abil­ity and sim­pler processes. Below are a few attrib­utes that such a tech­nol­ogy frame­work should pos­sess to address

these chal­lenges:

  1. Marketing-owned and oper­ated. IT has enough on their plate already and frankly, mar­ket­ing needs to move faster than IT is often able to. Mar­ket­ing should not have to add addi­tional staff sim­ply to launch an inte­gra­tion. What you need instead is a prod­uct designed to reduce com­plex­ity by automat­ing the inte­gra­tion of mar­ket­ing tools.
  2. Improve vis­i­bil­ity. Com­pare apples to apples and give deeper vis­i­bil­ity into the con­ver­sion cycle, whether using cross-channel or cross-application dash­boards to pro­vide mar­keters with a holis­tic view of performance.
  3. Auto­mat­i­cally share infor­ma­tion. Increase rel­e­vance and accel­er­ate rev­enue recov­ery. Seg­ment based on real behav­ior, and use it to trig­ger processes. Test and tar­get con­tentacross tech­nolo­gies to opti­mize results.

When orga­ni­za­tions inte­grate mar­ket­ing tech­nolo­gies and under­stand their impact upon one another, mar­ket­ing ROI is sub­se­quently increased. By lever­ag­ing the attrib­utes above, lead­ers can improve cam­paign results in the realm of 300%—650% over their tra­di­tional broad­cast campaigns.