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Tackling Internal Problems with Customer Data Management

June 23, 2016 | By

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It’s a badly-kept secret that data lies at the root of any differentiated or compelling marketing program or campaign. In order to deliver the best (defined in more ways than one) customer experience, marketers must be able to effectively collect, analyze, segment and act on consumer information. In the world of marketing, this is what we call customer data management.

Quick summary: Effective CDM drives a variety of core marketing functions via creating a more complete view of customers. In fact, Experian’s 2016 Global Data Management Benchmark Report revealed that 97 percent of businesses in the U.S. look to effective data management to increase customer loyalty and improve customer sales, as reported by Inc.

That’s because customers crave a more customized experience and data drives that type of content. Without effective customer data management, marketing leaders simply cannot provide consumers with the targeted and tailored interactions they are looking for.

“Data-driven marketing efforts rank at the top of the marketer’s strategic priority list for 2016.”

Makes sense, then, that data-driven marketing efforts rank at the top of the marketer’s strategic priority list for 2016. According to Econsultancy and Adobe’s 2016 Digital Trends Briefing, 53 percent of organizations chose data-driven marketing as their No. 1 pick for marketing to-dos this year. And get this: a study by Gartner found that companies which fail to achieve high-level data management will extract inaccurate data that could result in a 25 percent decrease in revenue gains.

Seeing the value here – or, on the more alarming downside, the potential consequences? Us too. As with most high-value action items, customer data management comes with its own set of hurdles. Interestingly enough, one of the most prevalent problems stems from internal company cultures surrounding data.

Internal Issues
When it comes to any critical company obstacles, the first place to look is usually within. Turns out, customer data management is no exception. Experian’s study concluded that internal problems account for a considerable amount of the hold up with CDM.

“The biggest problem organizations face around data management today actually comes from within,” explained Thomas Schutz, SVP and general manager of Experian Data Quality, to Inc. “Businesses get in their own way by refusing to create a culture around data and not prioritizing the proper funding and staffing for data management.”

While many organizations are beginning to comprehend just how crucial data is to their marketing efforts and beyond, the resources just aren’t there. EMarketer reported on an IDG study that came to the same conclusions. When it came to data management efforts, almost three-quarters of leaders struggled to justify the necessary spending and 56 percent of respondents claimed staff skill levels were a major roadblock.

“Marketing decision-makers must craft more compelling business cases for data.”

The solution? Marketing decision-makers must craft more compelling business cases for data. Start by pinpointing a few of your most important KPIs and build cases for why data can support these functions. For example, engagement can be measured by time spent on a page, click-through rates from an email, and/or number of pages viewed. Design specific experiments related to one of these KPIs to prove your ability to increase them.

Once you secure executive approval for these endeavors, you can move on to tackle your more data-driven objectives by linking how discrete marketing KPI improvements lead to bigger business outcomes, such as conversion rates or size of cart. When it comes to business most things boil down to profit-based logic, so state your case and flip the switch on how your company approaches data spend and skill. Otherwise, you may risk losing key customers to competitors with more data-driven approaches.

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