Data-driven and targeted email marketing can exponentially increase return on investment, yet many marketers still rely on email lists instead of databases and have not fully integrated data into their campaigns.
Just over a third (38%) of companies across industries currently use their data archives for business analysis, according to a June IDC whitepaper. This number is likely higher for marketers, as an overwhelming majority (92%) of email marketers admitted to facing challenges in collecting email addresses in Experian’s 2015 Email Data Quality Report.
Experian surveyed 200 email marketers and discovered that although increased personalization and improved engagement were selected as the best methods to improve campaigns, only 16% of marketers responded that they have achieved a single, omnichannel customer view. The most difficult challenges of creating a holistic customer view selected by marketers include linking different technologies, a lack of relevant technology and poor data quality.
“Tools are being introduced to help marketers get better at their craft and become high-performance marketers, but the data needs to be in the right place,” says Bonnie Crater, CEO of Full Circle Insights.
Crater says that miscommunication between departments is rampant because different sets of data are in various different solutions. For example, one set of data could be in a marketing automation platform and the other is in a CRM solution.
“How that data is managed is different,” says Crater. “That’s why we’re 100% on the Salesforce Platform. Salesforce is a great platform to build applications on.”
Marketing Clouds, such as Salesforce, Adobe and Oracle, are increasingly popular options for marketers looking to leverage their data because it offers businesses an all-in-one solution.
“We’re very dedicated to an open-platform strategy and have invested in technology we feel are foundation elements for marketers,” says Chris Lynch, senior director and head of product marketing for Oracle Marketing Cloud. “A heterogeneous environment allows customers to maximize investments in other marketing technologies.”
One caveat, however, is that many marketing clouds have fragmented technology that have been acquired though acquisition, meaning that they were built by different teams, for different purposes, and likely in different coding languages.
“Fragmented technology means fragmented data, fragmented processes and inevitably, fragmented strategy,” says George Corugedo, CTO, at RedPoint Global. “The cloud is attractive and inevitable, but if you get under the covers there’s a stark difference on how they approach it. All the marketing hype can’t change physics. If it can’t integrate, it can’t integrate.”
Corugedo says the most important thing for email marketers to know is that they should never give up control and ownership of their data. He says that it’s very difficult to ever switch vendors or get your data out at that point, and that some companies even claim they own the data once it enters their system.
The siren call of "just give us your data" is a trap, warns Corugedo. That's where companies lose control.