Just ten years ago, most marketers only had to manage a handful of technologies: an ad server, an email platform, and a search marketing tool.
Now there are scores of technologies that are required for digital marketers to coordinate including DSPs, DMPs, web analytics, attribution systems, mobile marketing, testing platforms, and social messaging—just to name a few.
Every new platform wants as much of your customer engagement data as it can get to message, bid, buy, and optimize your campaigns better on your behalf. Tag management systems (TMS) have helped to alleviate the burden of getting tags on pages—but these site pixels only capture a portion of your entire customer engagement, as much of that engagement happens off your site in ads and emails, within mobile devices, and even offline in your call centers and point-of-sale systems. You may also have rich offline data in your CRM which would be very useful for your technology partners as well.
The constant struggle of integrating every new technology, platform, and publisher is very time-consuming — and time is money.
What if you could integrate once into a data foundation and then let every partner integrate into that layer?
This image is likely how your world looks today: filled with multiple internal and external marketing partners and technologies which all need to integrate with you.
Below is how your world could look once you have a data foundation in place. You implement data collection mechanisms that aggregate all of your customer engagement data into one platform (in this case, Signal), and then all of your partners integrate with your data foundation.
This is a much more efficient approach than before. Instead of spending precious time and resources implementing every vendor, your team can focus on defining the data connections to your partners, giving them the data they need. (Read more about technology integration in our special report, Optimizing the Marketing Technology Stack.)
This data hub will be the “air traffic control center” for your data. Here are the common elements you’ll find in a well-designed data foundation:
- Data collection mechanisms that gather customer engagement as it happens (in real time) and anywhere it happens (across channels and devices)
- The ability to tie those data points together across numerous user profiles to a single view of each customer
- The capability to make data actionable by connecting this data to any endpoint (any media partner, any data warehouse, any platform, etc.) and trigger real-time actions at those endpoints if possible
To help you understand the opportunities that a data hub can create for your business, consider this: Instead of just gathering a tiny bit of your data through your pixel, your technology vendors could integrate into your data foundation, and you could allow those vendors to access any or all of your customer engagement data. That, in turn, can help your vendors serve you better and drive better performance with the dollars you’re spending with them.
If you decide to grant them access, your vendors could be able to easily receive each customer’s engagement activity with you:
- Every click
- Every page view
- Every download
- Every email open
- Every app install
- Every mobile web visit
- Every ad delivered
As you move the conversation beyond pixels, you will learn how every vendor can help you transform your business with your own, valuable first-party data. Data centralization can lead to omni-channel marketing nirvana—and the foundation itself can bring tremendous value and efficiency to your integration needs.
Originally published October 16, 2014