The fast-changing digital marketing landscape has created great complexity. Add the hyper-connected consumer to this mix, and marketers are left with a convoluted matrix of vendors and channels that’s impossible for brands to manage. Marketers have attempted to counter that complexity with technology, but they are still feeling pain.
According to a new study from the Winterberry Group and IAB, and co-sponsored by Signal, a lack of integration is the biggest hindrance to marketers making the most of those significant investments. A full 60% of marketers surveyed agreed that better integration of their existing tools would support their marketing and advertising goals—more than any other tactic.
That’s no surprise, as it turns out that some marketers are regularly using 30 or more marketing tools. Often these tools often can’t communicate with each other, causing enormous headaches for marketers who are trying to take advantage of new technologies and the possibilities of big data.
The line between marketing and IT is blurring. Brands are on a journey to optimize their technologies and unlock the power of their data by unifying it across desktop, mobile, CRM, email and more. But in their desire to create a seamless experience for customers, many brands are still stuck in first gear, owing to the complex and difficult task of connecting their data and toolsets.
Key findings from the Winterberry study tell the story:
- Complexity is the norm. Enterprise marketers on average use more than 12 distinct toolsets to support data-driven marketing efforts. Almost 1 in 10 regularly work with 31 or more.
- Marketing technology is data-dependent. The most commonly used digital marketing technologies – such as analytics platforms that power audience segmentation and predictive modeling – rely on a constant feed of consumer data to perform well.
- Organizational silos hinder integration. Within the typical marketing organization, five stakeholder groups – including digital, analytics, media-buying, loyalty, and direct marketing – utilize different tools.
- Platform integration is a key hurdle. More than 60 percent of marketers said better integration of existing tools would help them derive greater value from data. The same number also said their business would benefit from improved processes for sharing data among various tools.
- Cross-channel marketing is an unrealized goal. Less than half of marketers are currently leveraging data and technology for key cross-channel initiatives such as targeting, engagement, brand loyalty and measurement.
How Signal Can Help
Buying a marketing stack is not going to solve the 12 or more purchases that marketers have already made. The solution to this complexity is a neutral data foundation that can easily plug into every single one of your tools, provide a single view of the customer, and allow marketers to swap any tool in or out as desired. This foundation should be open, to meet the needs of the always-on consumer and make all your tools work better together.
The industry’s diversity and speed of innovation makes it impossible for any single suite or toolset to meet all of a marketer’s needs over time. A common conduit, connecting all your data and technology, has become absolutely vital. By breaking down organizational silos and integrating their tools, marketers get the insights and results they need.
The new Winterberry research confirms that marketers are early in the evolution toward a cross-channel future. They’ve made significant investments in a growing array of sophisticated toolsets, but a gap remains between where they are and where they know they need to be. Crossing that maturity gap requires an integrated and flexible data layer as the foundation for any kind of stack.
Signal’s Fuse Open Data Platform is the first solution built for the express purpose of solving these challenges. It offers a universal data foundation that integrates with any combination of marketing toolsets to provide marketers with a single view of the customer. Fuse streamlines and simplifies the gathering and centralization of data from web, mobile, and offline channels; merges fragmented customer data; and activates data to deliver the right personalized message across relevant channels – all at a real-time pace.
Your data foundation should let you use whatever solutions you already have, and give you the flexibility to add or delete from your marketing stack as better tools emerge. The idea of ripping and replacing an entire stack has become awful for marketers contemplate: the speed of commerce is just too fast, and modern marketing organizations too complex. That’s why marketers need a platform that lets them have it all—open, neutral, and universal. Now that’s a New Year’s resolution.