We’ve all heard it everywhere: marketers are overwhelmed by piles of data. Mastery of this data is a major milestone on the way to attaining digital maturity in marketing. Our recent Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing, in association with Econsultancy, reports on our global survey asking marketers for their status on digital data marketing maturity. Their responses and our analysis will help marketers evaluate how far their companies have come in this journey.
Overall Digital Data Marketing Maturity: the Foundation
Many organizations are confusing the concepts of technical capacity and digital maturity. Maturity is much more about the company structures in decision-making. How are decisions made and who is involved? Structures and processes must be established recognising that social media, web 2.0 and the resulting global accessibility to products and services have created a strong customer-centric marketplace. Team members with direct insight into the customer base must be involved in the decisions with strong consideration given to their input. Some companies still work by an overall feeling about successes in the previous year and then building on them without much input from available data. Digital data marketing must instead be seen as a strategic initiative in the company. Despite this importance, about a quarter of the respondents have no formal approach to digital data marketing, and another half are working toward one, but do not have it complete.
It is important that decision-makers understand that maturity is not only about having data, it is about understanding what you want to do with it. A data point tells you nothing if you aren’t clear about what you are looking for. How will you define success for a marketing initiative? Which of the many available metrics will you use? Establishing how you will think about the data is just as important as the data itself. Once this mindset is established in the company, marketers will be more effective at collecting, analysing, and using data to drive the business.
In this report we expand on this concept of digital data marketing maturity and identify four pillars of activity that can be built from this foundation.
Measure the ROI of Marketing Activities
When data is used from a base of maturity, it is possible to attribute marketing activities to key performance indicators. The return on investment (ROI) for any marketing initiative can be known in far more detail now than at any time in the past. Our survey shows there is much room for improvement here, with 34 percent of companies reporting the use of only basic criteria and 18 percent not yet able to measure marketing ROI. Companies may be falling prey to a vicious circle here: they are reluctant to systematically collect data because they feel that they are not equipped to work with it yet, but they are not ready to work with data because they don’t have it yet. The importance here is continuity. One needs to have a solid data history to work with, but it need not be complex as long as it provides continuity in viewing the customer.
Build a Holistic View of the Customer
The top reason reported for using digital data is to build a better customer experience. A single customer view (SCV), the ability to connect a customer across all channels, is a core competency in using data to develop actionable insights. Only a minority of companies have achieved this, with 13 percent reporting an actionable SCV. Another 15 percent report this to be a budgeted priority. The proliferation of touchpoints brings with it a dual-edged challenge. There is a technical challenge of gaining a unified view of data that is coming in from multiple, possibly disconnected, systems. On the other hand, it is vital that organisationally, teams looking at the data are not isolated in silos and are ready to share insights with each other as well.
Audience amplification is the process of gathering data about your most valuable customers and using that data to find new customers with similar profiles. Almost two-thirds of companies that engage in audience amplification have seen “very high” or strong ROI from digital data marketing initiatives. They are in the minority of companies, however, as 80 percent of responding companies are either not focused on this or are still learning about it – or even worse – are not even aware of the opportunities within.
The existence of extensive data sets opens the possibility of mining the data to predict when a customer will be likely to buy a product or service and surfacing that customer as a lead. Respondents reported three leading areas in which they would like to use this emerging technology: near-term customer needs, marketing channel efficiency trends, and customer’s future needs. Many find their technology to be somewhat or highly effective in providing insight in these areas.
Putting it All Together: Outpacing the Competition
The results suggest that only a minority of companies are well on their way to digital data marketing maturity. Surprisingly, the use of existing automation technologies is not widespread, with just over half of reporting companies using automated email marketing and 36 percent using dynamic media delivery. This shows that data is not yet being used to its fullest capacity in many organisations. Many companies are challenged to use this opportunity and are looking for a trusted partner to discuss these challenges with and are looking to learn from other thought leaders from around the globe in order to achieve a competitive advantage.
The results point to several areas where a fast-moving company could gain an upper hand in the marketplace. Get more details about these gaps and recommendations on how to close them in the full report.