Centralising your marketing data is key for business growth [Opinion]

spiral centre marketing

A massive shift is happening in the marketing world. Increasingly, brands are moving towards a hybrid model where agencies are working alongside internal marketing departments. At face value this may seem like a move towards effective collaboration, however, this still doesn’t guarantee a cohesive team structure.

Digital skills are highly specialised, for example, in the hybrid model I mentioned above, the community management team could still be working in total isolation to the paid social, paid search and programmatic teams, and then, of course, there is the website UX and development which will be managed by another internal team or perhaps an external agency.

A fragmented approach like this will no doubt result in different data connections being managed by different teams which means that the brand is not getting a centralised view on its campaigns’ performance. No accurate decisions can be made through this data lens.

Each team spends so much time, effort and media spend in trying to get the user to the website, but then we forget to track that user right through to the final conversion, and when we do it’s often tracked as a last-click attribution, which could either be a form submission or an actual transaction if it’s an e-commerce website.

The result of this is that we get a very isolated view, we’re trying to compare apples with oranges, the reality though is that each channel has different user intents, some higher and some not so much i.e. paid search vs. social. Budgets are then allocated to those ‘best performing channels’, without understanding the full attribution model to the final conversion.

So why should brands invest in centralised data? Some of the advantages of centralised data are explained below.
Reduced reporting time

Centralised data decreases reporting time by up to 90%. Marketers have multiple managers to report to with status updates, which turns into a constant stream of reporting done manually (e.g. death by spreadsheets). With an automated, centralised approach you can take that burden out of the equation and reallocate your time to digging into the insights and be thinking strategically, making smarter decisions.

Decreased media spend and wastage

You can free up to at least 30% of your media spend and rather be optimising your on-site content to improve conversion rates. Looking at historical data will help you recognise your department’s obvious wastefulness.

For example, paid and organic search teams should be working together to remove cannibalisation of search queries and rather using their collective data to bring costs down in paid search.

Keywords costing you tens of thousands of rands, webinars that never created an opportunity, landing pages that never got personalised to convert. According to McKinsey & Company, decent marketing analytics will save you 15-30% of your marketing budget. I’ve seen this number increase to 70% when done correctly.

Promotes a data-driven culture

Businesses that use data to drive their approaches and conclusions see huge growth. If you’re freeing your time up because you have automated, blended reports in place, you’re able to focus on insights. These insights will get your team bringing ideas to the table.

The more ideas you have, the more opportunity there is for growth. Research shows that companies that adopt data-driven marketing are six times more likely to be profitable, year-over-year. And yet, 87% of companies say data is the most underused asset in their marketing efforts.

If you start thinking of your data as an asset that is always on, set up the right technology to work with it in parallel, you will start seeing improvement in your business’ data-driven culture.

Teams work towards KPI’s that impact business growth

The centralisation of data allows brands to overlay and blend data in a single report that enables them to have an overview of all the results across all their campaigns. When a senior marketing manager has a bird’s eye view of the data it is easier to ask the right questions and to get the different departments focussed on the same objectives. An example of this I often see is that social has become a place where leads can be generated.

Yes, this is true, but is this the most effective way to use social? We’ve seemed to have lost sight of social media’s influence on brand upliftment and having a softer approach on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. The magic really happens when you can blend social media organic reach against your search console ‘brand’ impression data.

Having a high organic reach in social means that the content resonates with the audience a lot more, as opposed to bashing them with lead generation ads every day. If you get this right, you should start seeing a brand upliftment in the number of brand searches in Google. That then means a higher return on your spend because the intent is much stronger in paid search.

This is just an example, a fully integrated campaign will have multiple objectives and a strong content strategy to support the paid media. It’s a true test of a brand’s digital maturity.

Insights into your audience targeting

Brands need to become fanatical about their audiences, and it starts by building out these custom audiences from their 1st party data i.e. user behaviour and demographic data from their owned websites. From there you start building out look-a-like audiences. That’s just the first step, the second step is to take this audience approach and plug it into your UTM tracking. We see time and time again how different audiences react differently to the same ad.

For example, a 20-year-old female could engage totally differently to a 45-year-old female. Also, the 20-year-old could be on a completely different social platform compared to the 45-year-old. When you can get these insights into your analytics tracking (Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics or Kissmetrics) platform, and run the numbers against conversion rates, you will start seeing the trends. From this data insight you will be able to better improve your messaging per audience and per platform. Again, here’s an opportunity for further growth for the business. Understand your audience going into 2020!

Efficient companies often make significant investments to ensure their teams have the right tools and know how to use them. A lot of thought goes into preparing the right computers, beneficial software, and collaborative workspaces, and ensuring they are managed adequately. At the end of the day, you can have the best martech out there, but it is process and people that win every time.

Without the right culture and process, a data-driven approach will be difficult to achieve. What are your internal data collection and insights processes like?

Feature image: Pexels

Neil Pursey


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