Why Data Integration is the Future of Marketing

Shashi Upadhyay, left, and Nipul Chokshi

Marketers are already working with a daunting amount of data, but it’s only just the beginning. IDC estimates that, by 2020, the digital universe will reach 44 zettabytes, making the life of marketing professionals even more complicated.

There are a number of factors fueling this data influx. One is that information is more easily accessible due to the rise of the Internet of Things, and another is the advent of tools that can harness and aggregate huge quantities of data, which humans are not equipped to handle.

To take advantage of the influx of customer data, marketing technology companies have responded by creating platforms to collect data and transform it into actionable insight. In fact, there are nearly 4,000 marketing technologies available today, which all offer information on a different piece of a prospect’s profile.

Because of this, integration of data sources and marketing technologies will be crucial for companies, whether B2B or B2C, to successfully deliver relevant customer experiences and drive accelerated sales revenue.

A primary challenge that teams face is the sheer amount of data marketers being collect through a growing number of marketing technology applications. With any number of solutions being used at any given time by any number of individuals, data sources often become siloed, so big data analytics tools are unable to discern what data is important and what data isn’t relevant to a particular prospect. Separate teams often pull analytics produced by various applications without sharing or cross-referencing datasets from other apps.

These disjointed efforts can make it nearly impossible for marketing and sales teams to get the whole picture and tailor the strongest and most relevant content for each prospect or existing customer. If organizations are unable to identify the best leads or most promising existing customers, communication breaks down and marketing can become unaligned with sales. This results in irrelevant or unused content, and redundant efforts from both teams.

This underscores the benefits of integrating data into one tool or dashboard that can analyze all data and surface the most relevant information. Integrated data sources provide marketers with deep, detailed customer insights, allowing them to create segments that can be directed into marketing tracks that provide them with more personalized content. This level of insight provides a better customer experience from both marketing and sales. And, of course, superior customer experience leads to customer loyalty and increases cross-sell and up-sell opportunities that ultimately boost bottom-line revenue.

Integrate more than Data

However, data integration is only the first step. Organizations also must integrate their marketing technologies to create a cleaner, more manageable tech stack that drives real revenue impact. To maximize productivity and save valuable time, teams need to streamline processes by adopting fewer solutions that do more, and integrate all of those seamlessly so that insights are unearthed and presented in a digestible way for marketing and sales teams. Eliminating the need to switch between various applications to provide analysis on cohesive data sets also allows for a seamless workflow for both marketing and sales. By streamlining workflows, organizations create a greater opportunity for real-time account scoring, resulting in quicker action when a new contact pops up as a good opportunity.

Marketing teams are now more responsible than ever for driving revenue. In fact, the role of the CMO is changing rapidly, and many CMOs find their metrics are tied directly to revenue outcomes, against which they need to be able to plan. To succeed in this new marketing reality, teams must identify opportunities to increase efficiency and eliminate duplicative efforts. To do this, integration of data and of marketing technologies is key. Once that data is in place, technologies in their stack need to be able to present marketing and sales teams with information to operationalize the insights being uncovered in the data.

The future of marketing is integration, and the creation of a seamless, data-enhanced workflow in which marketers no longer need to toggle between several different applications will set up marketing teams for revenue success. As a result, over the next 18 months we will see teams adopting fewer niche solutions from their nearly 4,000 options and looking for solutions that provide integrated data sources and surface actionable insights for multiple parts of their funnel.

Shashi Upadhyay is Chief Executive Officer of Lattice Engines. Shashi is responsible for advancing Lattice’s vision to deliver the power of prediction to sales and marketing organizations. His unique background as a Cornell data scientist turned McKinsey partner drove the founding of Lattice. Today, Lattice has changed the lives of tens of thousands of sales and marketing professionals with award-winning technology that enables them to use advanced data science to be more successful at their jobs, and their companies to drive more revenue. Shashi holds an undergraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur and a Ph.D. in Physics from Cornell University. Connect with Shashi on LinkedIn. Follow him on Twitter.

Nipul Chokshi runs product marketing at Lattice and is responsible for messaging, product positioning, and sales enablement.  Prior to Lattice, Nipul built and ran the Solutions Marketing and Sales Enablement functions at Yammer (acquired by Microsoft in 2012). Before Yammer, Nipul led product management/marketing at Marketo and Merced Systems (acquired by NICE Systems). Connect with Nipul on LinkedIn. Follow him on Twitter.

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