Marketers: Align Objectives With Data Collection

Bubbles-AData that is dependent on large-scale rapid computing that can crunch and deliver numbers on the fly requires capital investments. Marketing departments have begun to spend more money compared with their counterparts on technology, in search of insights into customer needs, according to industry insiders.

Marketers are good at describing in simple language the impact of investments on business. Real-time bidding platforms from companies like WPP Group's Xaxis, which launched an RTB tool for digital radio Wednesday in partnership with Triton Digital, a digital service provider, have begun to demonstrate the possibilities of connecting audiences and brands in real-time.

The connection remains important. Jonathan Margulies, managing director at the Winterberry Group, told MediaPost OMMA DDM attendees that the leap from data collection and processing to revenue and profit requires careful and thoughtful integration. He warns that marketers must align corporate objectives with data collection and processing or risk bursting the data bubble. He said there is some basis for the thinking that the ad industry will experience a repeat of the dot-com era.

Millions of dollars and man-hours are being invested in technology and information that drives extremely small incremental improvements in sales, profitability, lift and response.

As multichannel attribution becomes more essential in effectively allocating ad dollars, the data needed to run a progressive online marketing program continues to increase. In the search landscape, advertisers need to have equally smart data solutions in place and the flexibility to adapt to new challenges before their data bubble bursts, said Mark Ballard, senior research analyst at the Rimm-Kaufman Group.

Advertisers must learn how to turn data into actionable insights, added George Michie, Rimm-Kaufman Group cofounder and chief marketing scientist, because platforms alone will not provide guidance in how to leverage data to make the greatest impact.

Marketers participating in the Decision-Makers Survey said 16% of their budget goes to technology when asked by Forrester Research what percentage of their group or department's budget goes to spending directly on technology-related products,consulting services, telecommunications, and IT staff.

Marketing departments are spending more on technology, but getting exact budgets from company executives -- especially when comparing marketing to IT -- can get a little tricky, according to Ion Interactive CTO Scott Brinker. He told Online Media Daily that even without exact stats several related indicators seem to confirm it.

Almost every marketing technology company that Brinker knows continues to grow at -- or more than -- double-digit rates, and it's clear from their marketing strategies that they sell solutions to marketers, not IT staff. "It's not unreasonable to conclude marketing technology purchases, driven by, if not fully owned by, the marketing team are roughly growing at a double-digit rate as well," he said.

Brinker points to Gartner research, which reveals that across all kinds of marketing technologies, more than half of the companies involved planned to up their investments in social media by 72%; mobile applications, 73%; CRM, 61%; customer analytics, 57%; content management, 54%; predictive analytics, 54%; campaign management, 50%; search engine optimization, 51%; and email, 49%.

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