Big Data Marketing Lisa Arthur book jacketCorporate data. Marketing data. Big data. All data. Data, data, data. If you’re a business leader, you’re now surrounded by data, and I’m sure you realize there’s value lurking within it.

But what can you do to turn data into revenue? Start with marketing and use my five-step plan to put data to work.

Step One: Get Smart, Get Strategic
Marketing, sales, IT and the entire C-suite need to align behind a shared strategy. This strategy must tie back to core business objectives, and it must be comprehensive enough to address each of these five areas: customer interactions, analytics, data, organizational changes and technology.

Step Two: Tear Down the Silos
Our recent survey of more than 2,200 marketers found that most believe silos –both internal and external to marketing –prevent them from effectively executing campaigns. Meanwhile, Gartner’s prediction that CMOs will soon spend more on technology than their counterpart CIOs has IT worried that marketing will drive technology initiatives in a vacuum. Now more than ever, it’s imperative for marketers to collaborate with IT . . . and throughout the enterprise, as well.

Step Three: Untangle the Data Hairball Read the rest of this entry »

Embrace data-driven marketingAt its core, data-driven marketing centers on one thing and one thing only: propelling value by engaging customers more effectively. That may sound straightforward at first, but I can assure you, the task is anything but simple, and it’s becoming more and more complex every day. Digital disruption is throwing the physical world of processes and goods into disorder and yet, customers are more empowered –and more demanding –than ever before. What can you do to embrace the five steps of data-driven marketing and regain control of today’s complex digital marketing environment?

Adopt an integrated marketing management (IMM) approach. IMM focuses on simplifying the complexity of data, processes, interaction channels and insights, and it will transform your internal and external marketing processes. How? By providing the tools you need to not only streamline internal workflow, but also to interact with customers and prospects in innovative and personalized ways across an ever-widening array of channels and platforms. In other words, IMM enables you to maintain a steady focus on the customer while taking advantage of 21st century marketing technology.

Look internally and externally. Analyze processes with both customers and employees to understand your biggest obstacles and what might be holding you back. Remember: Your goal is to integrate marketing and use big data insights across the enterprise so you can drive value by engaging customers more effectively.

Leverage best practices. Upgrading your marketing operations, customer interaction management and overall go-to-market strategy is an enormous endeavor, so take it one step at a time. Visualize your future state, and then work with proven experts to begin adopting a more data-driven marketing approach.

Learn from the efforts of others. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel every time. My new book contains many examples of companies that are already well on their way to becoming data-driven organizations. Marketing is constantly evolving, though. Read, listen, talk and network. Apply the best of what you learn—and avoid the land mines others point out—to transform your own business and organization.

Don’t let the complexity grow. Complexity is one of the biggest obstacles marketers face. And if you think it’s challenging today, just wait—it’s only going to get more complicated in the future. Work with IT and your peers to better understand where you can eliminate complexity and adopt simplification and streamlining, instead. Whenever you add new technologies and processes, make sure you take the time to look back at the impact.

It has been my distinct pleasure to share the five steps to data-driven marketing with you over the past few weeks. The conversation about data-driven marketing is a conversation we all need to have –in boardrooms, within marketing organizations and throughout the enterprise –and it needs to start today. My hope is these blog posts and my book Big Data Marketing will inspire discussions at your company, or make those you’re already having better. Let’s put big data to work to engage customers more effectively and drive value!

black number five

This article is Part Five in a five-part series where I discuss the Five Steps to Data-Driven Marketing.

As I wrap up this five-part series designed to help you implement data-driven marketing, it’s time to talk about process. Granted, process is usually not a hot topic among marketers; most can’t imagine it as anything “sexy.” However, when process delivers competitive advantage or elevates brand relevance, I can assure you, it’s very sexy. Here’s how you can up your game with processes that improve performance, enhance the customer experience and increase sales:

Read the rest of this entry »

ddashboard data marketingThis article is Part Four in a five-part series where I discuss the Five Steps to Data-Driven Marketing.

CMOs, how do you demonstrate that your marketing efforts contribute value to the business? Here’s the best way: Use metrics to measure your progress. No, I’m not talking about how many “liked” your Facebook page or the number of clicks on your website. I’m talking about tracking results, such as the returns from your latest media buy or the increase in marketing-qualified leads. I’m talking about showing precisely how marketing’s effectiveness and efficiency is improving. The proof you need is in the metrics, and that’s why I’m always telling my team, “Marketers, you need to make metrics your mantra.”

Here’s the problem, though: Many marketers are anxious about implementing metrics; they’re just not accustomed to this level of scrutiny. In my upcoming book, I tell the story of the CMO of a large well-established financial services institution who confessed to me that measurement made her team “nervous.” They had endured several organizational realignments and –no surprise –saw metrics as a negative tool senior management could use to “manage” marketers right out of their jobs.

Others marketers seem convinced that embracing metrics isn’t even possible; they’re tangled in the data hairball and feel certain that modern marketing practices have grown too complicated and unwieldy to accurately measure. That’s understandable, too.

But as marketing leaders, we can no longer succumb to fears or confusion. And we can no longer settle for “making do” with antiquated approaches to marketing operations. Read the rest of this entry »

big data hairballThis article is Part Three in a five-part series where I discuss the Five Steps to Data-Driven Marketing.

Over the past two weeks I’ve discussed how to establish a strategic plan to implement data-driven marketing and how marketers can tear down the silos that impede change.

Now it’s time to talk about Step Three in my five-step plan for big data marketing. Let me explain how you can start untangling the data hairball.

What is the data hairball?

As I mentioned earlier, I use “hairball” as a metaphor to describe the complicated jumble of interactions, applications, data and processes that accumulate haphazardly when companies are unprepared to handle information from a wide range of sources. It’s different than the “data deluge” or the “sea of data” we’ve all read about; sticking with that kind of imagery, the data hairball would be the shoreline after a tsunami, but prior to reconstruction.

To me, the data hairball embodies both the promise and the threat behind big data and digital channels. “Promise” because there is infinite value locked-up in all that data and all those channels. “Threat” because I see a snarled data hairball as the biggest obstacle to improving customer engagement.

So, how can you unravel all the complications and start harnessing the power of new data-driven marketing strategies? Once again, it’s critical to take it step-by-step. My upcoming book explains the process in much more detail, but here are the basic eight points I suggest you follow: Read the rest of this entry »

handshake

This article is Part Two in a five-part series where I discuss the Five Steps to Data-Driven Marketing.

A recent study showed that most marketers believe silos –both internal and external to marketing –prevent them from effectively executing campaigns. Meanwhile, Gartner’s prediction that CMOs will soon be spending more on technology than their counterpart CIOs has IT worried that marketing is going to start driving technology initiatives in a vacuum.

How can CMOs build the collaborative relationships needed to drive revenue growth in today’s data-driven marketplace? As we continue to explore my five-step plan around big data marketing, let’s discuss Step Two: Tear Down the Silos. Now more than ever, it’s imperative for marketers to improve cooperation and communication throughout the enterprise.

Fair warning: Tearing down silos isn’t easy. First, you’ll need to develop a strategic framework that will drive synergy with other departments and help you align for both short-term and long-term success. To help you begin the process, I’ve identified four ways you can prime both the communication and execution channels: Read the rest of this entry »

chess piecesThis article is Part One in a five-part series where I discuss the Five Steps to Data-Driven Marketing.

“How should we get started?” I’m asked that question all the time. It’s clear that by now, most marketers recognize the link between data-driven marketing and business value. But many remain stumped about how to actually begin putting data-driven marketing to work. “What should we do first?” “Is there a right way? A wrong way? A best way?” Over the next few weeks, I’ll walk you through my five-step plan around big data marketing. I’ll break it down and show you how your company can really dig into the issue, confirm decisions and make data-driven marketing a reality. For today, let’s explore Step One: Get Smart, Get Strategic.

Like so many journeys, this one begins with having a clear vision.

Come on, don’t roll your eyes. That’s not a cliché. When companies skip over “the vision thing,” guess what happens? Technology—not strategy—becomes the driver, and as I’ve seen far too often, that’s a recipe for disaster. Technology is never the panacea. It’s the enabler. The system is not the solution, but your ideas are. That’s why aligning behind a shared vision is critical—and not only among the marketing department, but across the entire C-suite, as well.

A shared vision paints the picture that the broader organization needs to support. It helps:

  • connect the dots between projects
  • illustrate how these projects drive value
  • achieve alignment when change sparks turf wars.

Once you have the vision, other pieces will begin to fall into place. Once you have the vision, it’s time to Get Smart and Get Strategic.

Granted, every business is different, and that means the starting points, the visions and the final plans will vary from marketing team to marketing team. However, when you’re ready to get serious about implementing data-driven marketing, you must think strategically –and you have to break down your strategy into its fundamental components. Why? So you can give each one the attention it deserves, while staying true to your core vision.

Let me outline a few of the basics. When I say, “It’s time to get strategic,” I mean you need to develop each one of these five: Read the rest of this entry »

Help wanted signFaced with the growing importance of the omnichannel customer experience and the expertise required to understand the vision and technology behind data-driven marketing —digital marketing attribution, predictive modeling, dynamic digital profiles, mobile and so on—companies are testing a new position in the C-suite, the chief digital officer (CDO). But, what role does a CDO play, and why is this position (or something like it) so critical for your organization?

CDOs are digital-savvy, business-driven leaders who have what it takes to transform traditional businesses into data-driven companies. They combine marketing and management experience with technical know-how and strategic vision to align and improve business operations across the enterprise. I believe this type of broader, enterprise-wide data management scope has become the “mandate of our era.” And given that big data is here to stay – and getting bigger – your company needs a C-level position that specifically provides:

Technical expertise. As I discussed a few weeks ago, the big data hairball embodies both the promise and the threat behind big data and digital channels. A CDO can accelerate your efforts to unlock the data insights that increase sales and drive revenue growth.

Cross-functional finesse. Despite the CDO’s technical expertise, the primary responsibility of this role is not to make tech decisions. Instead, the CDO is charged with making decisions about how data and customers relate. Remember: Data analytics and the customer experience are not mutually exclusive. However, ingraining this fact in your organization will no doubt call for a shift in cultural mindset about data — what it is at your company, what it means to your business, and what you want it to do for you and for your customers’ experience of your brand.

Every department generates data and virtually every customer engagement leaves a digital trail of structured or unstructured information. Creating the systems and processes to capture, organize and leverage the data you’ve already got (and the additional data you know is coming) is the first step to aligning data use with your company’s business strategies. How else can you respond to the changing marketplace?

Silo-busting prowess. Read the rest of this entry »

big data computer screenBig data is new and “ginormous” and scary –very, very scary. No, wait. Big data is just another name for the same old data marketers have always used, and it’s not all that big, and it’s something we should be embracing, not fearing. No, hold on. That’s not it, either. What I meant to say is that big data is as powerful as a tsunami, but it’s a deluge that can be controlled . . . in a positive way, to provide business insights and value. Yes, that’s right, isn’t it?

Over the past few years, I have heard big data defined in many, many different ways, and so, I’m not surprised there’s so much confusion surrounding the term. Because of all the misunderstanding and misperceptions, I have to ask:

CMOs, when you talk about “big data” in the C-suite, do you know if everyone’s on the same page? And even closer to home, are you certain there’s consensus within your marketing organization?

You won’t get far untangling your big data hairball if, for example, half of your company is forgetting to include traditional data in the calculus or if some don’t think social network interactions “really” matter. So, please, take a minute to get back to basics and do a simple self-check. Ask yourself, your team, the C-suite:

How do we define big data? Read the rest of this entry »

tangled fishing lineI know, I know . . . Hairballs are disgusting, and years ago, I never would have dreamed of associating something so repulsive with my chosen profession, marketing. But that was before – before marketers had to manage an ever-expanding array of channels and processes, before we had all kinds of data bombarding us non-stop, before we had to dig through countless treasure troves of information to improve the customer experience. Now all of these things, when left unchecked, contribute to an enormously complex mess I like to call “the data hairball” – and more and more marketers are challenged by it every day.

What exactly IS the data hairball?

Metaphorically speaking I see the data hairball as the biggest obstacle to improving customer engagement. It is the complicated jumble of interactions, applications, data and processes that accumulate haphazardly when companies are unprepared to handle information from a wide range of sources. More than the “data deluge” or the “sea of data” you’ve all read about, extending those notions, the data hairball would be the shoreline after a tsunami, but prior to reconstruction.

To me, the data hairball embodies both the promise and the threat behind big data and digital channels, and whenever I mention it to a roomful of marketers, I sense immediate recognition.

Heads start nodding in agreement. Nervous smiles appear. Some people shuffle their feet as if they could sidestep the very thought of it. Audiences know exactly what I’m talking about when I use the term.

But, that doesn’t surprise me.

After all, marketers are the ones on the front lines, battling with the chaos of traditional and digital information that’s now piling up 24/7. We’re the ones who recognize the colossal complexity of the situation. We’ve all felt the knot of anxiety in our stomachs when we’ve been called into the C-suite to present strategies that often lack the supporting data we know we need to make a compelling case.

While I was working on my book this spring, Jeffrey Hayzlett, the former CMO of Kodak who now serves as an advisor to other CMOs and CEOs, admitted to me that he knew the data hairball all too well and that he had struggled with it at Kodak. Read the rest of this entry »

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