Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Martech 2021: The data checklist for marketers

By Roman Vinogradov, Head of Product at Improvado

Before you say it… Yes, I know that every trend or prediction piece you read around this time last year probably fell quickly by the wayside when Covid-19 threw the whole world upside down in March. But before you give up and choose not to read on, let’s remember that the recent vaccine arrival has given us all a reason to be optimistic about the months ahead.

When we think back to the annual promise that each year will be “the year of digital transformation”, who would have thought we’d be living this reality right now; who predicted that our 2020 Christmas work-do would become a glass of wine shared with colleagues over Zoom? Or that we’d end up doing all our Christmas shopping via the device in our pocket?

Digital transformation has accelerated at a much faster rate this year than we could have imagined. WFH and all the workplace meeting and management tools that come with it have become a mainstay for many businesses of all shapes and sizes, and many retailers have had to speed up their pivot to ecommerce. And best of all, consumers are coming along for the ride.

But if marketers are to survive and thrive in this new digital reality and continue riding the digital wave that the global pandemic spurred on, it has never been more important to double down on data and start using this mass of insights available to make intelligent business decisions that will pave the way to recovery over the next year and beyond.

The tenth annual WARC Marketer’s Toolkit 2021, which gathered insights from interviews with more than 20 leading CMOs to discuss the challenges that lie ahead, highlighted some interesting findings around data transformation priorities in 2021: 22% percent of marketers said the automation of marketing tasks (versus 18% in 2020); 17% cited investment in martech (versus 12% in 2020); and 47% said drawing insights from big data (versus 39% in 2020).

In preparing for this data-driven future, marketers should consider the following:

Don’t waste time wrangling with data preparation

A recent Matillion/IDG Research MarketPulse survey found that nearly half (45%) of time spent on data analytics projects is dedicated to data preparation instead of on more strategic, high-value tasks, creating a barrier to informed, insights-driven decision-making. The technology is out there to enable marketers to extract and transform data from almost any source to build data pipelines in just a matter of minutes. Not only that, you want to make sure that it passes into your own data warehouse or business intelligence destination, where it can serve reports that power data insights.

Centralize all your marketing data in one place

It seems an easy option to throw money at engineering resources for managing your data, but it’s not just costly, it takes time – in fact, it takes about a week, on average to aggregate and prep data before it’s even useful for analysis. Look for tools that can connect all your marketing data across a range of marketing platforms, business intelligence and data vizualization systems, such as Google, Facebook, Looker and Tableau, to bring it all together in one place, from a single dashboard that everyone across the business can access.

Automate your marketing data pipeline

While AI will never outweigh the value of human interaction, the powerful analytical and quantitative capabilities of technology can’t be underestimated. Who would have thought it possible to build data-pipelines without a single line of code. Well, it is and it can reduce manual reporting time by 90%, freeing up time to actually start analysing it.

Visualize your campaign data for clear, actionable insights

Having all this new data at marketers’ fingertips is all well and good – but then what to do with it? Look for integrations that can consolidate all your marketing data into any visualization tool or data warehouse to provide clear, actionable insights in a digestible format that even the least tech savvy team member can understand.

Invest in data process mining

Just by analysing our sales processes using data process mining, we figured out how to improve our sales metrics by 70%. This is a huge opportunity for business, regardless of their size, and is expected to grow over time.

Data has so much potential to boost business efficacy. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution as every business has its own specific goals and needs but simply by automating the end-to-end data analytics process, marketers can eliminate the need for specialists wasting hours of manual labour that would be better channeled into more productive efforts to ensure business continuity.

Martech 2021 is just around the corner, are you and your data ready for it?