One of the most important things digital marketers need to do is prove the return on investment of their efforts. Tracking activities from every angle to create a complete view across the marketing and sales pipelines needs to happen before we can give an accurate presentation of performance. This holistic view supports a data driven strategy, but the implementation necessary to get to that point takes some groundwork.
Marketing Technology Tools
Today, most companies are using several software platforms and tools to support their marketing activities. There isn’t one tool that can do everything and integrating everything might seem impossible. Improving integration to collect and consolidate the data can seem daunting, even if it is a priority.
A 2015 report from the Winterberry Group said marketers use, on average, more than 12 different tools in support of data-driven marketing or advertising. And some use more than 31 tools.
What’s even more striking (but not surprising) is that 60% of respondents say better integration of existing tools and improved processes for sharing data among various tools would enable them to make better use of the technology.
In conjunction with the IAB Data Center of Excellence, the Winterberry Group’s “Outlook for Data 2017: A Snapshot Into the Evolving Role of Audience Insight” says 45% of respondents reported difficulty in proving ROI of data-driven programs would be the greatest obstacle impeding the ability to deploy or derive value from data driven marketing and media initiatives in the year ahead. That’s quite an increase from 26% in 2016.
Integration among these tools could be the key to sufficient insight that can take data driven marketing to the next level.
Where Does Your Marketing Data Come From?
Since improving integration is a priority, it’s first important to outline where your data is coming from in the first. A few of the programs or tools involved might include:
- CMS (Content Management System) that serves as the database for your website content.
- CRM (Customer Relationship Management) like Salesforce or HubSpot that stores and manages interactions and data throughout the entire customer lifecycle.
- Analytics from Google Analytics, Moz, and Spyfu (and related tools) that track and report on website, SEO and online advertising performance.
- Social media profiles and data from LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook to show social engagement metrics.
- Marketing automation tools like HubSpot, Marketo, Pardot, Eloqua that empowers marketers to automate repetitive marketing activities like email and social media to generate leads and nurture prospects.
- Email marketing tools that let you test and tracking email campaigns.
- Lead capture forms that live on landing pages and collect lead contact information.
- Advertising management systems for display, paid search or mobile advertising to plan, launch, manage and track your digital advertising campaigns.
- Feedback & comment systems that allow you to engage with, understand and better serve your prospects and customers.
- DAM (Digital Asset Management) that serves as an online file manager to give your content offers a place to live when leads and prospects are ready to download.
These are just a few tools that generate data that’s useful for your marketing and lead generation activities. However, without proper integration, you won’t have reliable data available.
As mentioned, marketers need a cohesive approach to bring all the systems, processes and data together. In doing so, you’ll have concrete data that can validate decisions to improve marketing activities. Plus, proper integration can aid in creating a seamless experience for the end user – driving improved performance in the end.
To get the most value out of the software you’ve invested in you’ll want to ensure systems are sharing data with one another, as appropriate.
For instance, if a visitor to your website fills out a form, their contact information should be passed to your sales team and updated in your CRM, the interaction should be tracked, and contact information added to your email list so to receive marketing emails.
Or, if someone downloads an offer on your website, information about how they found you (i.e. organic search, paid search campaign, etc.) should be available and they should be added to your CRM and/or enrolled in the appropriate email campaign.
When you leverage an integrated marketing strategy and integrate the supporting tools – instead of using them as stand-alone tools – you’ll have access to the (accurate) intelligence you need to tailor your strategy to the expectations of modern day buyers.