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.