Welcome to your Marketing Tech Stack. It’s a myriad of data sources and tools that enable you to make more informed “data-driven” decisions, giving you the ability to take the guesswork out of everything from media buying to sales and performance attribution. But the landscape is also a daunting, vast proliferation of technologies and vendors in a very competitive market. The buzzwords alone are enough to leave your head spinning. Buzzwords like Hadoop, big data and machine learning can be dizzying.
Your Marketing Tech Stack allows you to store, ingest, govern, secure, process, analyze and visualize data, from customer data to marketing performance data . Your options vary from generic tools requiring you to supply all the know-how, to highly expensive, enterprise-wide solutions that promise to solve all your marketing and advertising technology needs. In between, there are boutique products and service-oriented solutions that focus on specific technology needs or provide unique integrated service offerings.
What Is the Value of Data?
From a dollars-and-cents perspective, the best way to answer this question might be to look at the values of companies that are driven by data. Companies like Uber, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook have market valuations far beyond those of other, more traditional companies with far greater revenue.
More relevant to the marketing department is the value of data, which, when distilled and analyzed, can deliver a more thorough and insightful understanding of your business and customers. This can lead to better product positioning, innovations and a stronger competitive position, all of which can have a significant impact on the bottom line.
There is a significant amount of internal and external data available. Everything from structured data from your ERP and CRM systems to unstructured mega data sets from social outlets to video. The most important use of this “big data” is to discover and extract golden nuggets of valuable insights about our customers. This “data mining” introduces science to the exploration of customer behaviors and trends.
So, What’s Changed?
Providing reliable data for better decision-making is a task that hasn’t fundamentally changed since mainframe days, moving data from its source and making it available to decision-makers in a timely, simplified manner. While the goal remains the same, the obstacles and complexity to successfully create and maintain a data-driven source of analytical truth has become exponentially more difficult.
Top on the list of hurdles is the sheer number of new data sources that generate unprecedented amounts of output, often with very little structure. From social media sources to machine and sensor readings, the onslaught of data from these channels can be overwhelming. MarketsmithIQ, our proprietary platform, has over 50 active integrations – and that number continues to grow. This is what enables us to synthesize massive amounts of data and performance indicators to drive better outcomes for our clients.
Second is the necessity of ensuring the cleanliness and accuracy of the data. While a complete Master Data Management strategy is certainly a goal to shoot for, implementing data governance policies and a data cleansing strategy should be a mandate. The ability to properly ingest and cleanse data is something marketers come across every day. We prioritize this when reviewing a client’s tech stack and data flow – optimization and campaign growth can only happen when there is a foundation of clean data. This establishes a source of truth for all data in the ecosystem.
Third, the number of available tools and technologies currently available and on the horizon is both impressive and confusing. Having a clear understanding of the purposes and benefits of these technologies is essential to their success and yours. The tools you select should be complementary with minimal overlap to ensure your martech dollars are optimized.
Lastly, document your ecosystem. Understand what goes in and out and how each piece of data is captured and structured. This is a critical component to your ability to grow and ensure that your data is reliable. This is the type of deliverable we start with for every single client integration.