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BizReport : Advertising archives : October 13, 2017

Expert: Why data silos are killing engagement

There has been an explosion of data into the digital space over the past five to ten years, and while this data could lead to better customer experiences and better brand relationships, one expert believes the way data is currently being accessed is not helping marketers' causes. Here's why.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: What is the current state of the marketing industry, in relation to data management and Customer Data Platforms?

Rob Glickman, CMO, Treasure Data: Marketers have seen our profession completely upended in the last few years: The fragmentation of the customer experience...the explosion of marketing channels...the availability of affordable, powerful SaaS solutions...and of course the proliferation of mobile devices. All this translates into an explosion of data unlike anything we've ever seen before. That leads to a couple of possible outcomes: it can either paralyze marketers, or it can help them deliver amazing, unique customer experiences while their competitors struggle to understand their data.

To deliver that experience, you need technology to help you manage all that data. Problem is, with over 5,500 solutions available, marketers have become fed up with multiple, disconnected systems. They need a way to harness and simplify this abundance of solutions in order to do 1:1 marketing at scale and personalize the customer experience as completely as today's customers have come to expect. Customer Data Platforms (CDPs), like Treasure Data's, make that possible. By connecting data sources, unifying data for analysis, scaling to handle even the largest data volumes, and automating the process of disseminating analysis results, a CDP can put data at the service of an improved customer experience.

Kristina: Is solving the challenge of data management really a big deal?

Rob: It is--the future of marketing is at stake and the marketing function is at an inflection point. As marketers, we need to stand up and chart a course across silos, tech landscapes and channels to show the real value that marketing can deliver to the business--as a revenue-generating machine driven by deep customer intimacy.

And by the way, all this doesn't apply only to B2C companies, because the line between B2B and B2C is rapidly disappearing. We're all consumers and all engage with consumer brands, with the result being that we bring our expectations for rapid response and personalization to the workplace. To be successful now, you have to employ B2C marketing sensibilities in your B2B marketing.

Kristina: Why are data silos the death of any marketing strategy?

Rob: Because, as I like to say, everyone is part of the marketing team. The lines have blurred between sales, customer experience, product development, and marketing--data and processes overlap from one functional area to another. Marketing produces the best results for a company if everyone works together and data from across the company contributes to a 360-degree view of the customer.

I see marketing as the creative force that balances art and science--but leans more heavily on science than ever before. Marketing must use science, that is, technology, to be a silo-buster--a function that collaborates across the organization and with customers to reach important goals. In particular, marketing must partner with product development, engineering and sales to drive innovation for customers--if we don't, we're letting our customers down, plain and simple.

Eliminating data silos also depends heavily on effective change management: The shift to the cloud requires businesses to break down internal silos, and to share and communicate as never before. Line of business leaders need to bring in IT early, and vice versa, to strategize together around the common goal of serving their customers completely. But that's a tall order in many organizations, and research continues to show that most teams and organizations are still nowhere near where they need to be in terms of cross-team collaboration. (In my previous role at SAP, I commissioned a study on this very topic.)

Kristina: How can marketers from companies of all sizes use data to better understand their customer and personalize the customer experience?

Rob: As Scott Brinker says, the days of relying solely on gut-based, experience-driven decision-making in marketing are over. Marketers at companies of all sizes need to integrate, aggregate and analyze data from all sources and channels--brick-and-mortar, the web, mobile, gaming, wholesalers, retail partners, social media, internal systems, and more--so they can personalize every interaction with the customer, no matter where or via what channel that interaction takes place. Now, no one will disagree with this statement, but I've seen firsthand the paralysis marketers experience nowadays with the explosion of data at their disposal.

Marketers need to take a step back and ask themselves 1) what customer experience and behaviors they are trying to ultimately achieve, 2) evaluate their Martech stack and lead processes, 3) Live in their sales teams' shoes and 4) Make sure IT is along for the ride from the outset as the days of fragmented SaaS solutions are over.

I've closely followed and am fascinated by the ongoing digital transformation of companies large and small with the emergence of the cloud, Saas and PaaS. And every single company is going through their version of Digital Transformation, make no mistake - it's not just a legacy or large organization phenomenon. Organizations are increasingly operating SaaS solutions by lines of business rather than through a centralized IT department and they're shifting their internal processes and making other changes necessary to enable them to successfully adopt technology that will allow them to engage with customers, employees and partners faster, easier and cheaper than ever before. This shift is a monumental, multi-year journey that's nowhere near complete--and software companies large and small, like Treasure Data, are helping companies adapt, transform and drive new business while not alienating their existing customers.

Tags: advertising, advertising data, data silos, digital transformation, online marketing tips, Treasure Data

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