Modern Marketing Health Check: Mastering Martech—4 Things to Consider

Posted on by Lisa Loftis

Abstract geometric technology graphic elementsEditor’s note: This article is part two in a five part series. For part one, click here.

If you’ve seen Scott Brinker’s exhaustive infographic on the martech landscape (a whopping 3,874 vendors were featured on the 2016 version), you know that marketers have a lot to consider when it comes to evaluating data and technology readiness.

How tech savvy is your marketing group? To see where you stack up and identify your aspirational next-steps, compare your company to the best practices of industry leaders in these four critical data and technology readiness areas.

1. Data Scope – Do you have the data needed to understand customers (e.g., behaviors, preferences, interactions and sentiment)?

The Evolving Company: These companies are able to identify groupings of customers living together as households. Behavioral and attitudinal data is overlaid with geo-demographic and customer profile data. Basic information about inbound operational interactions (e.g., call centers, branches, POS) is captured and available to marketers. Limited transactional information is available from digital channels where the identity of the customer is known. Basic customer preferences (e.g., preferred contact information, methods, and opt-in/opt-out elections) are captured, stored and reconciled across some channels.

The Progressive Company: Activity on social networks is visible and can be tied to a customer’s extended network. These marketers have a detailed view of digital channel activity across logged-in and anonymous data. They can actively tie it to profiles, purchase and transaction histories. Customer preferences (e.g., preferred contact information, methods, and opt-in/opt-out elections) are captured, stored and reconciled across all channels.

2. Data Integration and Accessibility – Is your marketing data structured and organized to provide an integrated view that can be accessed efficiently and effectively?

The Evolving Company: In these organizations, specialized data stores support specific business applications (analytics, reporting and campaign management). The scope of data covers most operational systems and a baseline single customer view is established. Access to some digital channels is available but may not be fully integrated. Marketing analysts are still conducting periodic to significant data integration activities to support ongoing analysis requirements/needs.

The Progressive Company: Marketing data is cross-functional and comprises fully synchronized data stores, structured to support the full range of marketing analyses, campaign management, real-time processing, query sandboxes and BI reporting. Data across the range of customer touch-points and digital channels is integrated into the customer view. They are exploring and integrating emerging big data sources (IOT, geo-locator, beacon data, etc.).

3. Data Quality and Management – Do you have standards for the quality and lineage of your data and are you regularly monitoring and remediating problems?

The Evolving Company: These companies have initiated a data governance program but it is not yet extended to all data. Most marketing data is regularly measured for quality and remediated if necessary – either within the marketing data structures or at the source. Data quality and metadata tools are used for many data sources but inconsistencies can still be found. Data stewardship assignment aligns with key marketing initiatives.

The Progressive Company: A formal data governance program exists, we have rules for quality and metadata around customer and marketing information, and processes extend across the lines of business and delivery channels. Senior management understands and supports data quality and its associated KPIs and metrics, based on consensus that data is an asset. Marketing data is subject to regular internal auditing processes.

4. Martech Landscape – Do the tools and technologies (e.g., marketing automation, real-time decision making and offer distribution, rules engines, visualization, big data platform, etc.) support your marketing strategy? To what degree do the tools work together?

The Evolving Company: The marketing toolkit is expanding and includes the ability to utilize collaborative technologies and workflows for campaign generation and approvals. Marketing resources and assets are controlled centrally to allow for local campaign generation using corporate generated assets and content. Some ability to integrate between digital channels exists (e.g., web and call center) but not all channels are fully integrated. Rules-based offers can be generated but dynamic offers based on real-time events are still limited. We have some isolated cloud based applications but for the most part these do not talk to our in-house marketing applications. These companies may have invested in a big data platform but it is not widely utilized by marketing at this point. 

The Progressive Company: The martech ecosystem is comprehensive and supports the end-to-end customer lifecycle. Campaign generation and approvals are supported by workflows and collaborative technologies. Analytic models can be embedded in offer generation applications, there is a unified customer decision hub and the marketer has the ability to personalize communications based on real-time actions across all channels (digital and conventional). Technology supports big data as well as digital intelligence (digital data collection, offer distribution). Data, on premise and cloud based, applications and marketing capabilities are fully integrated utilizing advanced APIs and federation techniques.

Didn’t make the chart? Then your marketing group is probably nascent and should focus on building a basic customer view and exploring traditional martech (campaign management) to automate activities and augment skillsets. Evolving? Evolving companies can take a page from their progressive counterparts by expanding the scope, quality and integration levels of their customer data while identifying technology gaps. Progressive? Congratulations! Progressive companies are already leaders in utilizing martech and can stay on top by ensuring an active focus on innovation in technology and big data utilization.

In part 3 of this series, we’ll look at business alignment.

Lisa Loftis is a thought leader in the customer advisory services team in SAS Best Practices, and co-author of Building the Customer Centric Enterprise (Wiley).

Related Articles:

Modern Marketing Health Check: How Does Your Company Stack Up?

Special Report: Optimizing Marketing Data

Building a Customer Data Foundation in the Digital Era



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