Marketers Cite Data and Platform Integration as Top Struggle

Fifty-four percent of marketers struggle with integrating and centralizing fragmented data with regard to new technologies.

Modern marketers understand that technology now plays an essential role with regard to strategic progress, yet most lack the platform connectivity necessary to develop single customer profiles. Overall, the need for more consolidated technology platforms continues to weigh heavily on marketers at all levels, as these leaders seek help unifying their view of customer data across touchpoints.

The CMO Council's "Quantify How Well You Unify" report specifically explores the economics of digital marketing technology integration in an effort to better recognize the challenges and best practices marketers face during the acquisition and implementation process. The survey, conducted in partnership with Tealium, polled 150 senior marketers across North America to reveal the gaps that still exist when it comes to data collection. Marketers acknowledge that, while technology investments will provide access to information necessary to improve the customer view, few have the strategies in place to convert these numbers into actual insights that will fuel business decisions.

The following statistics underscore the benefits and challenges behind an integrated marketing approach, while also highlighting the performance gains of early adopters and best practice leaders:

  • Of those polled, 78 percent have technology strategies either in place or in development, with 67 percent agreeing that these technologies are essential or very important to their businesses.
  • While 81 percent of respondents claim to have as many as 10 different marketing-related technologies or cloud solutions implemented, only 16 percent believe these technologies are tightly aligned, making it more difficult to create the ideal, cohesive customer view.
  • Of those who have a formal roadmap for digital marketing technology integration and data unification, 50 percent say they're achieving more targeted, relevant, and efficient customer engagements as compared to those who don't have formal roadmaps in place (22 percent). Thirty-nine percent have also seen greater return and accountability for their marketing and advertising spend. However, only 44 percent have integrated digital marketing technology and data.
  • Marketers find integrating and centralizing increasingly fragmented data (54 percent) to be their top struggle with regard to new technologies. Figuring out which technologies to select (48 percent), having sufficient talent and resources to manage them (48 percent), prioritizing and selecting the right solutions (46 percent), and making a business case for marketing technology spend (39 percent) also prove quite challenging overall.
  • Sixty percent of respondents report that the CMO holds responsibility for marketing technology specification, adoption, and use. Of those CMOs who say they're both managing and integrating said strategies pretty well or extremely well (30 percent), many continue to see gains in the form of greater revenue contributions (51 percent), greater campaign process, outcome, and impact (40 percent), greater website performance (38 percent), and increased leads (36 percent).
  • When deploying these emerging technologies, marketers are currently focused on furthering data analytics, insight, and intelligence (53 percent), email marketing and mobile (67 percent), website optimization and personalization (63 percent), and search and social (60 percent). Only 29 percent are measuring the value of these investments based on customer insight.

Key takeaway: Though marketers agree that relationships between marketing and other key functions within the enterprise are critical to the successful implementation and execution of these emerging technologies, only 3 percent believe they're doing extremely well when it comes to collaborating other departments. Yet, while 54 percent of respondents claim that they're working on building these vital relationships, these figures emphasize the alarming lack of alignment throughout most companies. Said cross-functional relationships are not only essential when breaking down silos, but they're also crucial when determining the value and ROI of said technology investments. Marketers must have the right talent, platforms, and processes in place to ensure effective integration and create more meaningful employee and customer engagements so they may drive increased loyalty, satisfaction, and revenue from the inside out.