We came, we ate breakfast, we learned – all before the blizzard hit. Pretty good timing on the Business Marketing Association’s part.
Any marketer knows, the way to an audience’s heart is great information presented in a fun engaging way. As the panelists discussed their journey through the world of digital, I had to keep looking around to remind myself that I wasn’t in fact at Acme Comedy Club. If they are marketers by day, they had to secretly grace the stages of comedy joints at night – they were hilarious.
The panelists included:
Patrick Dunn – Director of Sales & Marketing at GetWireless
Mike Bernard – VP of Services at Relationship One
Jason McConnell – Director of Marketing Communications at Sport Ngin
Bob Peterson – Research Director for SiriusDecisions
The best part about this panel, besides their comedic flair, was that they provided a range of point of views, from consulting to corporate to startups, from B2B to B2C. The panel was moderated by our own Rebecca Ramsden, Director of Interactive Marketing.
Bye Bye, Mad Men
The days of Don Draper and telling consumers what/how to buy are over. They’ve taken over the selling process, leaving organizations in frenzy. How do we take back that control? How do we guide our buyer to our product on their terms?
Beyond strategy and tools, there was one common denominator for all challenges, initiatives and successes shared by the panelists: Data.
Mike Bernard, VP of Services for Relationship One, summed it up beautifully when he said “Data is the life blood of organizations – if you DO SOMETHING with it.” This is absolutely the most challenging task in business today.
The Challenges of ‘Doing Stuff’ with Data
Having data is easy. Having data that is easily accessible and all in one place, that’s a little more difficult.
With data coming in from POS, CRM, social media, email marketing, wearables – it’s easy to see why it’s seems difficult to put it all together. Traditionally, IT put these data sources into a single [read: static] data warehouse. This method requires you to really understand the future of data in your organization. Once you create this data warehouse, you can go back and change it, but it’ll take 8-10 weeks for every change made. By that time, what you wanted to do 10 weeks ago is no longer relevant today.
This exact reason and our combined years of experience with data led us to adopt and love platforms like Hadoop. It allows orgs to be more flexible and agile with their business initiatives. Hadoop doesn’t mind if you want to add a new field or data set. Hadoop accepts everything equally. We should all be more like Hadoop.
You have the data, you need to analyze it. Don’t leave the strategy in the dust.
During the presentation, the panelists discussed a variety of tools that make it easier to use the data that they generate. The consensus among the group is that no matter what kind of tools you have, they won’t be effective if you haven’t documented and laid the foundation for how you’re going to use them. This includes designating the proper qualified resources to manage them – AKA not that marketing intern that boasted “learns quickly under pressure” on their resume.
While data is important, data doesn’t tell the whole story.
This was one area of discussion where “old school” came to mind. At the end of the day, digital marketing is about reaching humans in the way they want to be reached. Key word: Humans. There are emotions and factors that go into the buying decision that even behavioral data doesn’t always capture. Traditional focus groups or simply asking for feedback from your customers will help fill the data gaps to complete your view of the customer journey.
Where do you start?
Start with one small problem. Understand what questions you need to ask to solve that problem and the find the data points that are needed to answer those questions.
Remember, with great data comes great responsibility…. Or something like that.