Challenges in Achieving Data-Driven Marketing Success

september 2018 Jesper Reinholdt

The value and profits information and data collection and analysis could yield when configured into a pragmatic data-driven marketing approach, are particularly meaningful since once strategically aligned, they represent a substantial competitive advantage. Nowadays, customers’ profiles are significantly more nuanced and detailed, and based on the data collected, companies can continuously orientate their marketing efforts towards more informed initiatives and decisions. This ultimately impacts the overall experience your customers build when interacting with your brands, products, services, throughout their journeys.

In order to improve your marketing efforts, meeting customers’ expectations, your company needs to build comprehensive strategies based on the insights. The latter, being pulled from the analysis of all the available data which, in turn, are to be collected directly from the interactions with your customers, represents the most profitable way to achieve several benefits. Among those benefits, higher personalization, better omnichannel experiences, and improved customer-centricity stand out. Relying on informed decisions, backed up by data and insights, grants your company to convert leads through a richer understanding of your target audience, supporting you in tailoring high-quality and personalized contents, products, and offerings accordingly. Consequently, this would impact on the overall omnichannel experience, as it would assist your company in building a customer-centric, consistent, and cohesive journey across all channels.
Finally, given the relevance of customer-centricity in the current competitive landscape, it results to be undeniable that the key to achieve higher and improved customer-centricity is to know your customer in depth. Therefore, relying on information, data, and insights about your target audience provides your company with the ability to perfectly mirror its needs and experiences, offering your customers with what they look for when they look for it. Nevertheless, implementing data-driven marketing, despite the appealing solutions it provides, could be a double-edged sword, as there are four main challenges to successfully achieve such a practice.

Data-Driven Marketing challenges and how to overcome them?

In order to successfully achieve data-driven marketing and to improve all your marketing efforts through this approach, your company should consider and address four main issues, which are demonstrated to be considerable hurdles. However, every single one could be prevented, and solved, with the right organizational culture and approach:

1. The right team

One of the main challenges is to attract, acquire, and educate the right team when opting for data-driven marketing practices. Your team will need specific sets of skills to manage several tools, platforms, processes, and technologies. From data collection to analysis, and to simpler and easily accessible customers’ insights, your team needs to master all these skills and to cooperate towards achieving the same goal. In order to overcome this challenge, it is highly recommended, before starting implementing data-driven marketing practices, to invest in your skill holders, and to develop your existing capabilities.

2. Department silos

Besides investing in attracting and instructing competent skills-holders that might carry on your data-driven marketing tasks, another common issue to consider thoughtfully is to opt for external experts. Similarly as outsourcing specific efforts, integrating external skill-holders would grant your company higher degrees of expertise and familiarity with practices and processes. Moreover, another benefit of employing external experts when implementing a data-driven marketing approach is that your internal resources, by collaborating with the experts, will rapidly develop knowledge and skills compared to traditional training.

3. Department silos

Department silos might represent a structural challenge, preventing your company to successfully integrate and acquire data from different departments, teams, and divisions. The risk would be to have separate silos collecting the same data, contracting analysis, and insights which are not easily and immediately accessible and shareable. On the other hand, having high-quality and fully integrated data would grant your team to have an overall common overview of your customers, orientating all your marketing efforts accordingly. To achieve such a desirable result, it is recommended to restructure your organization, focusing on integration across departments.

4. Commitment

Another common mistake that could turn into a major challenge is to neglect the re-design and re-shaping of your overall strategy when implementing data-driven marketing. It is crucial, for data-driven marketing practices to yield the sought results, to define and incorporate such processes within your existing strategy, adjusting it accordingly. Constantly monitoring and benchmarking goals against results, opting for a test-and-learn approach, while letting your skill holders familiarize with the adopted new technologies, tools, and practices would prevent your company from detrimental consequences.  

5. Integration

Finally, the last challenge is represented by the underestimation of data integration. Frequently, focusing on single data collection methods, on unique platforms or devices, has demonstrated to be strictly inconclusive. To build a clear and unified view of your customers at 360°, it is necessary to integrate all the data retrieved from different devices, channels, platforms, etc. Particularly, it is suggested to include direct feedbacks and interactions with your customers. Thus, to support such an integration and overcome this challenge, it is recommended to set up automated processes matching your marketing efforts, although without jeopardizing personalization.

In a nutshell, data-driven marketing is a set of profitable practices and approaches your company is highly suggested to adopt and invest in. However, as discussed above, data-driven marketing implementation should not be considered as an incremental change within your business model, and it has to be configured within a suitable organizational structure and processes. As argued before, by achieving better results through data-driven marketing, while avoiding the most common organizational challenges, would secure your company with higher personalization and customer-centricity, which would impact over your omnichannel experience. The latter, with a specific focus on B2B tactics to achieve high-quality outcomes, will be discussed in the next issue.