More than half of respondents (55 percent) ranked “deploying new marketing technologies” as being the most “extremely important” data analytics-related investment to date in the recent Forbes Insights Data Driven and Customer Centric: Marketers Turning Insights Into Impact.
But, as covered in the first part of this blog, marketers are overwhelmed by the deluge of vendor options and data sets. In fact, in the same report, when asked about the biggest challenges of developing data-driven marketing initiatives, more than half of respondents (54 percent) stated that “focusing on complex technical solutions” was a challenge. So, where should they start to demystify this issue?
Where marketers should start
The top priority is to look across theL UMAscape andMarTech Technology Landscape Supergraphic haystacks for the needles that have proven they have done something unique. You should seek out vendors to partner with that are growing and that are doing so because they are providing truly unique benefits to their customers.
What’s crucial here is that you need to scratch below the surface of the claims these companies make by gleaning information directly from their customers, rather than just from the company itself. You need to take the time to understand the story of the vendor by seeing it through the eyes of the customers who have seen unique benefits from using that data. You can do this in several ways:
Read the vendor’s customer case studies.
Speak directly to references and ensure that they stand out from all the other data companies, because they accomplished something different.
Find the customer logo quilt on the vendor’s webpage, then use LinkedIn to reach out to that customer for a reference.
Speak with your friends and colleagues to see if any of them has had dealings with the vendor.
Additionally, there are several ways to connect with peers and influencers who have dealt with this same challenge:
Conferences.Some resources for marketers to consider are conferences such as MarTech and RampUp. How often are you surrounded by hundreds of industry experts and peers who have dealt with the same challenges you are encountering?
At these conferences, you can explore the ways to successfully navigate this challenge with peers and simultaneously tap into the knowledge and experience of industry thought leaders.
Forums. Another avenue is to join online forums and LinkedIn groups, attend events like the D MAMember Community Regional Roundtables, and follow some of the many blogs that cover the topic of data-driven marketing, such as the DMA’s Advance Blog or CMO’s Data-Driven Marketing Blog.
At Jornaya, I’m always striving to achieve this myself for my own business, where we never view ourselves as just another data company. We have a unique, exclusive data set, which has proven to be valuable. Just like I always seek to build unique value here in our own company, I think every marketer should seek that unique value in the vendors with which they choose to partner.
Many companies have similar capabilities or resources in terms of their data sets, and you may not necessarily go wrong by not doing your due diligence. However, you will also probably not get to where you really want to be if you don’t ensure that the vendor provides the unique value you’re looking for and has provided that value to other companies.
You can’t help but consider the John Wanamaker quote “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Data helps us determine which 50 percent it is so that we can double down on what’s working and shed what is not.
There is an evolution in marketing and data is driving that evolution. But, that evolution isn’t complete. We’re in the period now where we know this is where it’s been going and it will continue evolving, but there’s still a lot of complexity and lack of clarity on the best way to approach things. Although it will continue to get more complex for a while, we’ve just begun getting over the hump and are starting to move toward simplicity.
Ross Shanken is Founder & CEO at Jornaya.