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Bad Data Handling Is Holding Marketers Back, Survey Reveals

Poor data handling is costing businesses millions on resources and lost opportunity, with less than a third of CMOs feel the industry has the right skills to deal with customer data privacy, a new survey revealed. Lack of skills in data privacy compound the problem and form part of a subset of growing issues to do with a lack of internal capability and capacity.

Silverbullet’s new report Whose data is it anyway? How UK marketers navigate data management as consumer privacy concerns grow, surveyed 100 UK CMOs and a wealth of consumers to uncover the ongoing concerns with brands who use data to provide a service.

It found that half of UK CMOs estimate poor data handling skills are costing their business between £250,000 ($USD300,000) and £5 million ($USD6.4m) every year. Alarmingly, only 27% of CMOs say the industry is ‘ahead of the game’ with having the skills needed to deal with customer data privacy.

Read more: Marketing without Data

There’s No Secret Sauce

CMOs are under more pressure than ever before to ‘get it right.’ On one hand, CMOs are under the pump to invest in the right people, resources, and technology to drive Digital Transformation. On the other hand, the pressure is on to keep BAU ticking over and meet both ROI targets and rapid shifts in customer expectations. But in the big scheme of things, there’s no ‘utopian way’ any marketer is really achieving all this, and everyone seems to be looking at each other for the secret sauce.

In the age of GDPR, tighter regulation, Cambridge Analytica scandals, and the ‘crumbling cookie,’ throwing money at the MarTech stack, then ‘worrying about data privacy later,’ simply isn’t going to work. There’s no point in jumping on the MarTech bandwagon, without first getting your ‘data ducks in a row.’ And yet we see this mistake being made by marketers time and time again.

Failing to Understand DMPs and CDPs a Missed Opportunity

There’s a lot of talk about monetizing data, unlocking its ‘value’ and data being the ‘new oil.’ But despite the hard fact that data can be a highly valuable asset to drive better business decision-making, our survey found over half (55%) of CMOs believe they are tapping into just 40% or less of their first-party data’s potential.

Data Management Platforms (DMPs) and Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) are a powerful way for marketers to be able to leverage first-party data to understand their audiences better and to deliver better, more customized experiences. However, it’s surprising how many marketers still don’t understand what DMPs are, or how they are different to CDPs.

It’s time more marketers understand the true power and potential of DMPs and CDPs, and the power they both have to amplify the level of customer experience that an organization can deliver. Leveraging a DMP effectively can help unlock better transparency around a single customer view, and identify any roadblocks or barriers to enable a more ‘frictionless flow of data’ within your organization.

A More Mindful Approach to the MarTech Stack

We’ve seen organizations invest millions in technology, with correspondingly high expectations of ROI at the outset, only to realize there’s still a significant amount more required for ongoing support and implementation – and that meeting ROI targets in the short term with such a ‘’big iron’ approach from the outset is impossible.

At the same time, we’ve also seen many marketers throw millions of dollars at complex ‘Big Data’ management projects and large-scale data mining initiatives, only to reap little ROI from their efforts. The underestimation of these ongoing costs and over-estimation of the ease with which commercial results will be achieved is where we see many marketers become unstuck.

What we suggest instead, is creating a simple, organization-wide and customer-centric view of the customer journey. Then, drill down through that to map touchpoints and identify opportunities to incrementally improve the customer experience and to leverage data in a more simplified way.

Align that customer journey with simple KPIs and simple questions that Data Analytics and Data Science can answer. Something that would help that journey is a moderate investment in Identity Management technology solutions such as a DMP or a CDP.

Driving More Business Revenue Through Smarter Data Management 

Moving forward, it’s critical marketers are more mindful of the repercussions of their MarTech investment, and where it fits within the overall, data-driven transformational vision of the organization.

At the same time, CMOs, CEOs, and CDOs need to communicate, collaborate and be more aligned in understanding what data means for their organization, and how to unlock its full potential to help support business growth.

To better leverage data to save money and build revenue, ask yourself these vital questions:

  • Where does your data sit?
  • What information does it contain?
  • How valuable is it currently? Or what kinds of questions could it help answer?
  • Which format is it in?
  • Do you know the limitations and capacity of your current team?
  • Do you regularly re-evaluate your data handling processes?
  • Which roadblocks need to be overcome to provide better data transparency?
  • Which measures can you take to improve data privacy?
  • Which technology solutions can you invest in to help you get a clearer picture of the worth of your data to your organization?

Finally, we need to stop talking about data as though it’s a cost burden to businesses and start seeing it as an opportunity to add real value. Through the right strategy, mindset, and investment, organizations can achieve a smooth, ‘end-to-end’ flow of data throughout their business, or as we like to call it, the ‘frictionless flow of data.

’ This ‘nirvana’ of data management will reap organizations the greatest rewards – and open up even more exciting opportunities for growth.

Read more: The History and Future of Data Science

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