You likely face myriad marketing challenges today: from the inability to reach your target audience consistently across channels and bolstering lead generation to creating quality content for your marketing campaigns.
Arguably the biggest marketing challenges we see among enterprise and large-scale businesses today, though, pertain to inefficient data liberation capabilities.
More often than not, this is due to poor (see: legacy) martech that hinders many, if not most, facets of organizations’ overarching marketing strategies today.
More specifically, it’s due to tech that fails to offer the now-requisite single customer view and ideal customers profiles built from unified first-party data across systems.
I’ve long argued a 360-degree customer view is falsely construed as a destination — a thing you’ll end up with if you buy the right tech, hire the right people, and spend the right amount of money.
(Which, to many CEOs, translates to, “A lot of money.”)
In reality, compiling centralized repositories for customer data is a project.
One that should be tweaked, reviewed, and optimized systematically and methodically by today’s marketing teams to ensure it enables more effective marketing plans.
Our solutions to modern marketing challenges facing organizations today
But I have also come to realize that there are further false dichotomies and empty promises embedded in this whole conversation.
For example, I’ve heard these five common marketing challenges (objections, really) from countless analytical marketers and data-oriented professionals recently:
- 1) We have to centralize all data in one place before we can plan how to use it.
- 2) If we can’t unify all data in a single location, then we can’t activate any of it.
- 3) Building the stack we want will take years, so we’ll hold off on process changes.
- 4) Finding people to operate our martech is hard, so we must reallocate resources.
- 5) My plate is overflowing already adding new tech like a CDP is too much to handle.
All these objections held a lot more water before the inception and subsequent rise of the customer data platform (CDP) as the top marketing technology.
With that in mind, here are my responses to these marketing challenges — answers that can perhaps guide your own eventual CDP adoption process.
Marketing challenge #1: Centralizing first-party data
You’re far better off listing your goals (“What am I specifically trying to accomplish with my digital marketing?” “What specific marketing challenges do we face?” “What will ultimately define our marketing success?”) and identifying what data you need rather than the other way around.
One way to think about it:
Why go to the grocery store to buy everything you might need when you could make a list based on specific recipes and be focused on your trip?
You save a lot of money, time, and space that way.
You can always go back to the “grocery store” (i.e., martech marketplace) to buy more tech tools, find them faster, and get more sophisticated with your team’s use of them.
Unlike small businesses, your business likely has the wherewithal from a financial and resource allocation standpoint to invest in quality solutions.
First, though, you have to figure out what the optimal marketing solution looks like, based on your customer data management needs.
Marketing challenge #2: Activating that customer data
If you were given the choice between making consistent 5% improvements with your inbound marketing efforts starting today or waiting an indeterminate amount of time (weeks or months?) with the hope that we’ll see 50% improvement in our chief metrics at some point, which would you pick?
It’s not always a one-or-the-other answer for modern marketing professionals.
Sometimes, there’s a middle ground: Activating data related to high-value customers you know have a propensity to buy (and re-buy) from you while you wait on your team to clean up the remaining customer data.
Having said that, waiting around for data science to help marketing activate data is a thing of the past with a CDP in place.
It’s a marketing-owned and -operated solution, meaning once even some data is integrated, it’s entirely feasible and simple for marketers to activate it across the requisite channels.
Marketing challenge #3: Modifying strategic processes
See my answer for the second marketing challenge above:
Why trade guaranteed marketing success (well, success based on whatever pre-determined goals you’ve laid out for yourself) for a finish line that doesn’t exist and will always be moving further back?
Again, you can’t wait for the “perfect” martech stack to exist. That’s a subjective aim anyway and one that may never come to fruition (or match your vision, at the very least).
Adjusting how you approach your data-driven marketing efforts based on your current database setup and team structure is the only right move.
Failing to do so could leave unactivated first-party data on the table and fewer conversions and customers walking through the door.
Marketing challenge #4: Finding the right people
This is one of the marketing challenges practically every brand cites primary one: “We just can’t seem to find a person who specializes in X, Y, and Z, so we’ll have to adjust.”
Simply put, you can better employ the resources you have by using tools that are actually made for marketers — not ones that require you to find that unicorn team member who may not even exist.
For instance, you wouldn’t invest in a complex content management system without the right person to “own” it (e.g., one who specializes in creating content like blog posts and understands how to optimize and format them accordingly).
By that logic, you also wouldn’t invest in leading customer database software like the CDP that requires personnel your business currently lacks to operate it daily.
Solutions that allow you to get incredible amounts of work done more efficiently, like a customer data platform, are your best option for long-term, sustainable, scalable marketing success.
But first, be sure you identify and onboard (or train) the best person or people to handle such a technology in their primary, day-to-day marketing roles.
Marketing challenge #5: Handling new technology
Charles Duhigg’s book Smarter, Faster, Better is one of my favorites. Check it out.
Note that adopting one new thing that lets you do everything else (you guessed it) smarter, better, faster is a very worthwhile endeavor, especially for marketers.
If you are perpetually underwater at the office and just have too many ongoing projects and tasks to keep track of — from being the “ideas generator” for your integrated campaigns and social media strategy to developing buyer personas and related on-brand messaging — having better technology to aid your other tasks you can’t find time for is critical.
Speak with your CMO and other colleagues on your team. Map out who’s responsible for what tasks based on existing skill sets and activities in the near and long term.
Then, and only then, can you determine who should handle what tools, what martech and skills gaps exist, and what kind of return on investment you can reasonably expect.
It certainly takes time to research, purchase, onboard, and learn certain tech. But the down-the-line benefits for securing top-tier martech like the CDP are incalculable.
Watch our on-demand webinar to learn how you can write an RFP for a customer data platform and find the right CDP for your business.