Add Data Operations to Accelerate Your Revenue Marketing Journey

August 24, 2017 Kevin Joyce

In last month’s blog post, we discussed the second of the five core marketing processes essential to effective and efficient marketing operations — the reporting and analytics process. We ended by asking if you were a data-driven decision-making organization. So it is timely that this month we discuss the marketing process as it relates to data.

On your revenue marketing journey, if the content is the fuel, and analytics is your dashboard, then data are surely the wheels and tires on your marketing vehicle. There’s an adage in auto racing that races are won in the pits, and the tire changes that happen there affect the race strategy and must be suited to the course. Similarly, your data will dictate where you can go, and how fast you can get there. It will be impossible to become a data-driven decision making organization if the data quality or richness is poor. Having a resource in marketing who is responsible for data operations is becoming a requirement for successful marketing.

Marketing data is fragmented and getting more so every day Research by Experian uncovered that 84 percent of organizations are experiencing data quality issues. During the same period, Gartner predicted that by 2017 89 percent of businesses will compete mainly on customer experience. Compounding these issues is the explosion in marketing technologies, which further fragments data. In addition, Lyris tells us that 25 percent to 33 percent of email addresses in a house database will become outdated every year. “Houston, we have a problem.” So the importance of clean data is increasing while at the same time only 16 percent of organizations think their data is clean. Clearly, marketing organizations need to act. You need a data strategy and the resources to execute on it.

Setting Goals for Data Operations

We all want to improve the customer experience, improve engagement with customers through many channels, improve business intelligence and streamline operations, but we cannot reach these goals without addressing data challenges.

This breaks down into a few simple goals:

  • Manage the quality of the data more effectively
  • Develop a single customer view for marketing (customer data platform or CDP)
  • Formalize and manage the data architecture that binds together the many sales and marketing technologies
  • Enrich our database and acquire third-party data to boost overall contact database quality and marketing potential
  • Develop processes and plans to establish governance and use of marketing and sales data

These challenges can be summed up in a single, overarching need that stems from five critical questions:

5 critical questions for data quality.

Steps to Manage High-quality Data Operations

  • Step 1: Complete a full data audit
  • Step 2: Define a data strategy
  • Step 3: Establish data quality management as a primary function of a marketing data operations group
  • Step 4: Leverage marketing intelligence operations to report on data quality

What is data operations for marketing you ask? What are all the pieces, and what does marketing own versus what does IT own when it comes to data?

Marketing Data Operations

In larger organizations, marketing operations will likely have a data operations resource. Their responsibilities include:

  • data quality management
  • CDP
  • database operations
  • marketing intelligence
  • data architecture management
  • data acquisition and enrichment

This resource will not need to address the areas covered by the broader IT organization:

  • business intelligence system deployment
  • master data management (MDM)
  • data security management
  • document and content management
  • data storage management

At a very tactical level, the data operations person will own the data import and enrichment processes. They will be responsible for the right data being available in the right marketing system, which will ensure effective marketing execution and great customer experience with marketing digital properties.

Next month we will discuss the campaign development process and the distinctive requirements of a campaign manager and traffic manager.

As previously published on on 5/18/17.

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