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The Data Jungle

The modern marketer is tasked with one goal above all others – generating qualified leads.  A rapidly changing digital landscape coupled with the omni-channel nature of the modern consumer makes consistently generating and monetizing quality leads a daunting proposition. These challenges can be met leveraging the right assortment of marketing technology, and, more importantly, applying that technology correctly.
Every point-specific solution in the space presents a unique data stream, and many allow the consolidation of other data points in an effort to present a non-siloed view of customer behavior. This results in an unrelenting torrent of misleadingly organized data about customer behavior.

The Challenge 

So how does the modern marketer accurately see the customer and generate qualified leads? 

Gartner defines a Digital Marketing Hub as software that spans multiple digital marketing domains (mobile, social and multichannel) to provide integrated access to applications and workflows, adding capabilities such as collaboration, data integration and common analytics.  These applications (integrated solutions really) bring together disparate data streams to be analyzed and understood as a whole.

A digital marketing hub enables a consistent view of the customer, helps identify heuristics that more accurately represent qualified leads, and provides insight into what marketing tactics led to those leads.

All too often, the modern marketer follows a process that provides a solution before identifying the problem to solve.  You start by arriving at an observation, looking for data to support that observation, communicating the KPIs that best support that lens of data, and using that to confirm a hypothesis.  Enticed by the promises of a complex marketing technology landscape and a torrent of data that can be made to support nearly any conclusion, the end result is at best no improvement in lead quality, and at worse – worse leads.

These data streams will not hold utility unless planned carefully. They can confuse the landscape; forcing you to miss the forest for the trees.

The Fundamentals 

All hope is not lost.

The modern marketer, today more than ever, can rely on going back to fundamentals when identifying those tactics that produce high-quality leads. Reminiscent of the Scientific Method we learned in grade school, the three steps to follow are to:

1) Develop a hypothesis based on observation – Using the marketing technology hub from this perspective allows you to see your marketing data in aggregate with the ability to drill down to real-time specifics.  This bi-focal view allows you to make a hypothesis.

2) Conduct the experiment – Real-time data telemetry of existing marketing spend can be isolated and manipulated (e.g. should you buy a more specific keyword to identify leads, or would a broader keyword work better) before significant spend is made.  Your hub can provide experimental data alongside your control data for analysis (e.g. calculating the lift generated by changes in marketing spend).

3) Draw a conclusion based on analysis of the results – Finally, your marketing hub enables you to make a conclusion from your analysis, not support a foregone conclusion (e.g. broad keywords work better for Verticals A and B while narrow keywords work better for Verticals C and D).
Marketing technology should allow the marketer to leverage the technology, not force the marketer to bend to the technology to get a biased view of their customer.