The imperative of data integration

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These days, consumers are exposed to hundreds—if not thousands—of marketing messages. They hear radio ads, watch TV commercials, receive branded text messages, visit company homepages, search online and respond to email promotions – sometimes all in one day. Regardless of the size of the brand or advertiser, there are an increasing number of internal departments and disparate positions handling the full spectrum of online, offline and internal marketing efforts for any given brand.

As the number of ways marketers touch consumers increases, the success of a company's overall efforts often becomes blurred. This is especially true in marketing departments that perform their work in separate silos, unsure of how one channel impacts another and missing major opportunities to improve campaigns based on actual results and integrated forecasting.

Thanks to improved analytics and more affordable marketing intelligence solutions, the silo approach is no longer necessary.  Exchanging customer data across channels and marketing departments is now available and essential to all marketers, their campaigns and most importantly, the bottom line.

With a holistic view of online (search, Web analysis, display ads, etc), offline (print, TV, out of home, radio, etc.), emerging (mobile, social) and internal customer data (email, transaction and profile databases, call center activity, etc), marketers now have the ability to answer once impossible questions: What's the impact of one channel on others? How many conversions, at what cost, deliver which results? What is the value of these conversions - who is the campaign reaching, who's responding and what is the long term impact of the acquired customers on the business? How do I use this information to adjust my campaign?

Moreover, marketers can study never-before-realized synergies between channels and tweak their own efforts to improve results. For example, an integrated execution strategy between a product launch email and search could yield greater sales. In this scenario, buying appropriate keywords and adjusting the landing pages ensures that using one channel to build awareness and another to “close” gets the maximum benefit from a single customer communication. Similar execution strategies can be developed between offline and online strategies by adopting an integrated method of measurement.

By having a clear view of customer data and actions across channels, every marketing dollar can work harder – sales can be attributed back to the appropriate channel, spend can be re-allocated to the most effective campaigns, and improved ROI can be realized and measured.

Though many marketers remain hesitant to share their data for fear of poor performance or internal competition, shared intelligence actually allows marketers to do their jobs better and demonstrate their value to the organization. During tight economic times like these when marketers are held more accountable than ever before, creating and executing more efficient, effective campaigns is essential. These days, who doesn't want to be the hero? Saving money, building sales, and creating competitive advantage over brands might help you get there!

With time, all marketers and departments in any smart company will share information across channels in an effort to remove reluctance to move funds from “tried and true” practices of the past to new, “track-able” and “tweak-able” efforts. Forward thinking marketers will embrace this shift early in order to deliver the most successful campaigns, the highest possible ROI, and the greatest value to their respective companies.


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