The Great Schism: Marketing Ops Analytics and Customer Data

photodune-549338-investment-charts-mA recent study shows that organizations measuring marketing ROI are 17 times more likely to see the same or greater ROI over the previous year.[1] Yet there remains a resounding echo among many organizations that state an inability to pull the requisite data for such measurement. In fact, only 53% of the 3,500 survey respondents claimed to measure ROI. This is largely a result of an inability to tie systems together.

It’s a fact that marketing results are becoming more and more measurable, making CMOs all that much more accountable for its success; however, it also remains true that as marketing data sources proliferate, so too does the complexity of processes required to capture and properly interpret such information holistically.

The secret is out

The importance of marketing analytics software is no secret to any CMO; as the technology landscape evolves and expands, so does our need for tools that measure data and facilitate the interpretation of our information. When data flows into our organizations, we have numerous choices as to where that data may go and the ways we’ll use it. It may be pushed to any one or multiple systems that very often don’t communicate with one another. Pieces of data are added along the way in each respective system, yet a centralized connection point for all the appended value remains absent for many organizations. Siloed analytics displaying data from disjointed systems certainly hold some value, but important learnings are inevitably hidden if the marketer lacks a complete view of the data landscape.

Solving this problem and creating an effective reporting and analytics program that provides all the measurement required by the entire marketing hierarchy (and other stakeholders) often remains a mystery. Yet, it IS obtainable with the marketing technology (MarTech) available today. Key players in the MarTech space continue to place greater importance on integrations between marketing systems, tools and apps, allowing data to flow from one system to the next and then be attributed back to various sources, assets, tactics, partners, demographics, processes, etc. It’s rarely a clear path to success for most CMOs (after all, unique processes and systems always create unique challenges), and mapping out those unique circumstances is painful yet necessary step.

Surprise, surprise 

What many organizations are beginning to find, once they blueprint all their systems and processes, is that customer data and operational data are all too often distinct from an analytical perspective. For years now, marketers have been told to break down the borders between their marketing channels in order to provide a complete view of the customer and the buyer’s journey, but rarely do they place their customer data (front-office efforts) alongside their operational data (back-office efforts).

For example, Marketing Resource Management systems are likely far removed from systems that track lead generation efforts or provide audience analytics. Viewing and understanding customer and operational data holistically is vital for proper return on marketing investment (ROMI) measurement – which only results from bi-directional flow of data via marketing systems integrations.

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Consequences of siloed measurement

  • Marketers (especially Marketing Ops) can’t attribute the effect of operational tactics on customer engagement  
  • Marketers are unable to leverage customer insights in the decision-making process for operational changes (for example, media program planning)
  • The benefits of either operational efficiency or customer engagement may be inflated in relation to the other

…each of these results in an inability to calculate true return on marketing investment (ROMI).

We marketers must look beyond what was once good enough and focus on what’s truly needed to generate pipeline and create new business – at predictable scale. This can’t happen unless we integrate back- and front-office systems to consolidate our analytics.

[1] Hubspot, 2014 State of Inbound Report

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