Marketers want to execute with greater precision and speed. Channel proliferation, changes in the buying behavior, newer business models and a continued drive towards consumer centricity means a transformation is taking place in consumer sales and marketing. Whether evaluating, comparing or purchasing, consumers want information on their terms, through their chosen channel. Omni-channel marketing strategies—from in-store location-based campaigns to social media—allow marketing teams to deliver personalized experiences like never before.
Historically marketers have turned to the traditional tools of the trade, including marketing automation, CRM, content management and email applications to deliver corporate messaging with some degree of relevance, but a far cry from personalized engagement. To better understand the behaviors, preferences and influence of target consumers, many are turning to a new breed of machine learning and predictive analytics tools to make sense of the growing volume of data.
However, before any analytical insight can be gleaned, a reliable data foundation must be created to bring together information across a wide variety of sources inside and outside of the company. Without this foundation, incorrect decisions could result—completely nullifying any well planned and executed marketing programs.
Due in part to the cost of infrastructure, required technical skills and the compliance implications of new channels, the process of combining and integrating data across cocooned sources and systems have traditionally been a back office, IT data management concern. Alternatively, marketing teams have simply outsourced the creation of target lists, opting for costly project–specific data segmentation to support new product introduction and other programs.
Fortunately, new cloud–based, data–driven applications make it easier to blend internal and third-party data, continuously ensuring data reliability and facilitating collaboration between sales and marketing. These applications go beyond just using standalone analytics tools, process–driven marketing automation and CRM systems that sap IT resources. Using a closed–loop of relevant insights and recommended actions, they offer role–based business suggestions that guide all teams towards a common goal. Data–driven applications are fast becoming a necessity to decipher the growing volume, variety and velocity of data to yield the most efficient and productive outcomes.