The intelligent deployment of data, creativity and technology is driving the success of performance marketing.   However, businesses are still lacking confidence in these central pillars of the digital architecture to genuinely re-imagine their plans.

Firstly, the organisation must have faith in the accuracy of the customer data being captured and analysed across what is a very fragmented customer journey. Then, based on this faith, marketers need the skills to find insights to grow markets and serve customers better.

This piece will showcase three steps marketers can take to create a long-term data vision that will help them leverage data and technology, faster, better and cheaper.  

1. Identifying the problem

It’s a complex challenge marketers face to build a holistic knowledge of their customers and to confidently reimagine their plans to put digital CRM at the heart of their businesses. Most marketers know they have a problem with the volume and quality of customer data in a GDPR-compliant world. Their fragmented digital channels create data that lacks cohesion and clarity. But how do marketers brief out such a complex problem to internal or external partners?  Our advice is don’t.  Building the brief is a critical part of the solution, and if you haven’t identified the cause and effect, then you can’t write the brief.

Better to work with an experienced data company to work in partnership with your marketers to dig deep into the business to find the problems and create briefs based on detailed customer use cases that will then deliver the best return for the business. 

2. Delivering the strategy and the solution

Creating a successful long-term data vision is 30% technology and 70% human endeavour.  Work with a partner that can deliver the strategy and help you to implement the solution, a partner that truly understands how data, creative, media and technology all fit together to deliver a seamless customer experience – you don’t want a team that are brilliant at media strategy but just dabble in data!   

A good partner will be able to identify the right customer use cases which will often contain complex multi-channel behaviour patterns, which require appropriate skills to build pipelines for the necessary data, understand different technologies and tools, and deploy the data into your activation channels no matter what technology partners currently sit in your stack. 

We need to assemble data from websites, social media, digital CRM, native CRM and media, and these channels are currently supported by a myriad of technology solutions including but not limited to CRM tools, ad tracking, DMPs, mobile and web analytics, 3rd-party data providers.  But be wary of consultants trying to sell you new kit – for little upfront cost – to solve all your problems. The experience of the past 10 years has taught most marketers that this is a trick, and there is no alternative to well-thought-through, well-executed data planning.

3. People first approach

Deciding the skills needed in-house is a critical step for any marketer building a capability that can match the digital disruptors and challenges in their marketplace. Your team needs to be able to log into the tools that are managing your customer communications and build their own insights into the performance of your investments. Agency and contractor partners are important enablers for you to scale and diversify your marketing scope, but they should not be mystical holders of the knowledge about their own work to the detriment of your team’s ability to challenge their work and run tests that prove the ROI to your and your commercial colleagues’ satisfaction.

Work with a partner that will help you to in-house the key skills for decision-making into business and even, where appropriate, over time, train your team to deliver it. Build a marketing team fit for the future – a team of people that can understand data, creative, media and technology.