Are You a High-Velocity Data Marketer? Probably Not.

CMO Council’s latest study found that creating strong cross-functional relationships sits at the top of the priority list for the data-driven marketer in 2022. As we well know, it’s not that we don’t have enough data to accomplish our goals, it’s deciphering what data is most important that presents the most challenges. With each department viewing data through different lenses, alignment across teams allows for a more holistic view of customers and the ability to deliver top-tier experiences. Let’s dive into some of the nuggets of wisdom from the experts featured in the report.

Nav Thethi of Hitachi Vantara says, “Strategically, it’s imperative to create alignment between marketing, sales, and partners. It allows you to be proactive, rather than reactive when teams are aligned on goals and objectives.” Marketers are looking to streamline several areas of their data marketing including: data definition, data strategy, data sources, and information governance. With the ability to create complex customer profiles already in practice, organizations are striving to fine-tune these areas as much as possible. Though leaders agree there’s never going to be a “perfect” solution, it doesn’t hurt to strive for creating the optimal process.

Thethi pointed out how studies have shown the majority of customers leave their carts abandoned when online shopping. This usually means they engaged with the brand without any exchange of their information, which can be a huge “bleeding point” for the organization, as he calls it. Understanding conversion patterns, exit points, and delivering the right information at the right time is key for leveling up digital experience. Collaborating with cross-functional stakeholders makes these bleeding points a lot more obvious and a lot easier to clot.

“Every organization is actually very data mature in one way or another,” he says. “Every organization is data-driven as well and highly dependent on data. The bottleneck comes in with the confidence level on data accuracy.” That, Nav says, is the biggest challenge for marketers to overcome. The modern marketer is expected to be a data expert, but Thethi argues marketers are not supposed to be data experts. “Today, the marketer's mindset gets blended in with data discernment but they’re not the same.” He says the best way to combat this is to learn how to properly leverage tools that do the heavy lifting with data, which opens up marketers to do what they do best: being creative, strategic thinkers making decisions backed by data.

Marketers are also shying away from the traditional marketing funnels that create silos within organizations, trading in favor of real customer-centric marketing. Luca Destefanis of Kyndryl describes this as “data-informed” rather than “data-driven” — an important distinction, he says, that makes all the difference. While data is abundant and easily accessible for the modern marketer, there needs to still be room for a “human element” in decision making. Taking into account the limitations of your data, but also the capabilities of what’s available to your team enables marketers—and their cross-functional stakeholders—to make the best decisions for themselves and the brand as a whole.

Like many marketing leaders today, Destefanis emphasizes the importance of marketing and sales teams being in alignment. He says that marketers should strive to be an equal partner to sales and create a give-and-take relationship that benefits both teams through leveraging data and increasing collaboration. While brands shift toward more customer-centric marketing, these teams building cohesive relationships with the client base is crucial. “Sales and marketing are co-owners in engaging selected high-priority accounts, building reputation, and strengthening relationships with key stakeholders," he says. In this context, it is key to build a deeper understanding of customers and their industry to have customer-level objectives aligned.

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Moustafa Moussa of Al Safi Dannone echoes these sentiments. His strategy includes a healthy mixture of “quick wins” and long-term growth that keeps all stakeholders in the organization happy. “Let management see that there is some forward movement while working toward the big-picture goals,” he says.

He adds that partnering not only with sales, but also with IT has been very beneficial for advancing their data marketing strategy. Engaging with other individuals throughout the organization allows marketers to share blocks they’re experiencing and get help from the right people.

Moustafa’s top three tips for building a collaborative relationship with IT are:

  1. Ask: Are they ready to drive the transformation with you? The key is to communicate the marketing team’s needs because IT has the industry knowledge and context to help in the data space.
  2. Gathering data and actioning on that data is far more important than the tech platform itself. Teams waste lots of time and energy arguing for no reason.
  3. Try to spend time with them. Developing relationships with the team will take you far.

“The more data and insights you have, the more likely you are to be successful,” he says. Data is so much more accessible than it used to be. Marketers can get infinite data points instantly, rather than just from focus groups like in the past.

Marketing hasn’t changed, we’ve always been about influencing customers but now the game has changed and we have access to more technology that’s more evolved. “The more people can embrace it and understand it, the more they can win.”

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