Zylotech recently took to the streets to attend two conferences —the Connect CMO Summit in Chicago, and the Marketing Insights forum in NYC. These events both catered to marketers and revolved around data, technology, and consumer insight, and how these brands can use data to gain knowledge of their customers, and ultimately market to them intelligently. The discussions we had with the attendees around these topics were illuminating, both for the universality of the challenges all types of organizations face, and their willingness to prioritize solving them. Whether a B2B industrial manufacturer from Munich, or a Los Angeles-based B2C cosmetic retailer--the issues of the day span all industries and geographies.
Two main items stood out from our conversations with attendees at both events. The first and most common problem facing marketers today is simply the lack of unified customer data among multiple sources. Most of the folks we spoke with want nothing more than to get the true “360 degree “ view of their customers, so they can then market to them in a very targeted and personalized way. However, they have been thwarted in the effort by the seemingly immovable obstacle of siloed data.
The marketer might be planning a new campaign; whether it’s to nurture loyalists or win back churned customers, but they quickly realize that they are hamstrung by the fact that their CRM data isn’t talking with their web browsing data, their mobile data doesn’t talk with their in-store POS data, Google Analytics won’t talk to any of it, etc.. The marketer quickly realizes that they only have a fraction of the available data ready for them to use in the campaign. Sure, they can ask a data scientist or ten to do some manual reconciliation, cleaning, and unification of this data, but that in itself can take weeks, and by that time the data could be stale. Furthermore, this ad hoc activity would then need to be repeated over and over each time the marketer wanted to run a new campaign. Only an automated platform doing this in a continuous real time fashion is up to the task.
The other key topic mentioned by the attendees at the conferences was the desire for marketers to be able to easily take action on the data. Even in situations where the data itself was clean, fairly unified, and somewhat less siloed, the link from insight to action has been missing. Marketers have a plethora of systems designed to give them segments, predictions, recommendations, and insights about their customers, but no clear direction on how to proceed next. This becomes frustrating because without a direct way to make use of this data, the marketer is basically back to square one. What offer should they send? Which promotion? Do they send it via email, SMS, website pop-up? Today’s savvy consumers use multiple channels to interact with brands, and they have come to expect personalized, or even individualized treatment. For marketers, having a system that automatically links their predictive analytics and micro-segments directly to their multichannel execution platforms dynamically would mean they could instantly see the analytic insights being put into practical use. Otherwise, the powerful customer insights that they have captured sit unused.
Despite these prevalent challenges, the good news is that based on our conversations at these events, marketers are keen on solving them. Many said fixing these were their number one goal for 2019 and were at these conferences specifically to explore options. They know now that today’s AI and machine learning based platforms are capable of making their wildest customer centric dreams come true. We at Zylotech will continue to monitor the word on the street and report back frequently.
Ed Wolf is Head of Sales at Zylotech, where he uses his background in data, technology, and analytics to help organizations bridge the gap between customer data and insight. A resident of Somerville MA, Ed enjoys spending time with family as well as delving into sports and music. In his free time, Ed can be found on the soccer and baseball fields coaching, listening to the latest NBA deep dive podcasts, as well as visiting some local establishments to check out the latest Boston bands. He loves to talk data, analytics, sports and TV, so reach out anytime for a chat!
If you liked this post, check out our other blog post on why every marketing organization benefits from having their data in order.