Let’s face facts; we in the industry are well-known for being incredibly short-sighted when it comes to new technology adoption. We dive into a new platform or service without understanding the nuances or even potential consequences, kind of like Harry and Marv in Home Alone. Link building got websites de-indexed from Google, but those rankings sure were tasty. Joe Pesci’s looking through the McCallister front window instead of seeing a red hot doorknob he’s about to grab.
With big money on the line, those who are held accountable are always looking for new ways to validate their actions and prove their value to the organization. And CMOs are no exception, hence the push to spend more and more on technology.
It’s somewhat a chicken-and-the-egg situation; marketing and sales budgets grew in the digital age, as did the SaaS platforms out there to help optimize marketing efforts, and thus CMOs buy more platforms to help with their campaigns. Who’s to say how it started, but round and round we go.
The Consequences of Information Explosion
Information Explosion is very much real, and it’s the primary reason why money keeps flowing through Silicon Valley. With every new platform, every new channel, every new device, new data is tracking users and correlates to their lives, interests, and purchase patterns.
Data is the new McCallister mansion in business today, and their high-end VCR is that elusive ROI we all want to snatch. Each buyer you’ve had within the past 5 years has generated a mountain of data that can be tracked and understood. And top tier CMOs recognize that it can work towards a business’s bottom line if you understand how to leverage it.
So to best generate, track, maintain, and utilize this data, CMOs are flexing hard to put in place all the systems needed to optimize customer experiences, pre- and post-purchase.
All of the above is why CMOs are owning data and analytics and purchasing more technology than ever before. But circling back to the original point—fast adoption of new systems is the wrong approach. If you’re not careful, you could lose some teeth.
Choosing Your Martech: This House Is Definitely Booby Trapped
As Element Three’s “martech guy,” I am a total proponent of marketing technology and data collection/analysis. But sadly I run into more setup and integration errors than perfect deployments. And some of the time, we find incompatible systems or massive gaps with martech stacks that equate to years of data loss, which means lost revenue, probably. I’ll equate that to a paint can to the face.
While you, CMO, may not be directly responsible for the nitty-gritty details of martech and data, you do own the end result (or lack thereof).
Here are a few things you can control.
Set It Up Early
If you’re not actively capturing valuable data, it’s up to you to ask why. As mentioned before, years of data loss is money going down the drain for a number of reasons (which we’ll get to later).
Setting up systems as early on as possible is a priority, as data collection is non-retroactive—i.e., it only collects from when it is implemented, moving forward. And herein lies the blowtorch to the head. Your system has to be set up correctly with all the other marketing systems in place (website, CRM, ad platforms, email, etc.), otherwise you move your starting line forward until the error is found.
Which brings us to the next thing you control…
Do Your Research
Knowing your industry, your customers, the data you want to collect, and how you intend to use it will all play into how a system is set up, and even what system to utilize. Each martech platform is an island unto itself, with its own data structure and integrations. Some may play nice together and transfer data, others may require custom development to export and format data, others may be entirely closed systems.
Research heavily up front and vet all your systems before committing to anything. If someone else is vetting the system but you’re ultimately responsible, make sure they’re asking the right questions. And for larger purchases, explore deployment options and training via the providers, or even hiring dedicated specialists for your launch. It will pay dividends down the road.
Christmas Morning and the Benefits of Good Data
We understand why CMOs are owning data and how they can buy smarter. Now it’s time to talk about why this data is so valuable to marketing departments. This is where I have to abandon my Home Alone bit because Kevin (in my metaphor, martech errors) ultimately wins. But with the right legwork up front, that entitled little twerp won’t get away.
Intentional data collection and structure has magical results, which is why it’s worth the trouble, and CMOs are up to the challenge.
Building Lookalike Audiences
Across all your platforms (web tracking, CRM, email, paid media, etc.) data is being generated for everyone engaging with your brand—those who buy and those who don’t. With the right collection and analysis in place, you can determine (to a “T”) the exact behaviors customers execute over the purchase cycle, and build a lookalike audience tailored to these people. Then when others begin to exhibit similar behaviors, automated marketing can fire to push them further along and increase the likelihood of a final purchase. Boom.
Better Lead Nurturing and Personification
Personalized emails can generate 6x higher transaction rates. But without good data, you might end up with troublesome product recommendations (or you might not be able to personalize at all).
The holy grail of reporting. Assuming all your systems connect, you can get a better understanding of your customer journey by looking at every touchpoint, from acquisition to purchase, giving you the ability to attribute money generated to marketing budget spent.
Marketing and Sales Attribution
First touch, last touch, or multi-touch attribution. Whatever your business uses and needs, it’s important to have a system in place so that you know where to lean in.
Detailed tracking on ad performance via platforms, audiences, utilized creative, geographic regions and more. This is about getting more bang for your buck, ensuring you’re not leaving money on the table.
If You Own It, Do It Right
So what’s my lesson: go rob a house, children be damned? From my perspective, if I know revenue and ROI are the goals, and the only thing standing in my way is a psychotic suburban boy, then I’ll take my time and think things through, but I’m getting into that house. He is only a child, after all.
So yes, you have my permission, go forth and burgle. But make sure you’re doing your research, asking the right questions, and truly understanding the impact good data can have on your marketing efforts.