The 2017 holiday season is upon us, and it’s time to think about what we’re thankful for. At this time of year, marketing departments are full of the hustle and bustle of hopefully closing out a strong year of business and preparing for 2018. However, these activities shouldn’t prevent marketers from taking a moment to reflect on what we’re thankful for in our business life. As 2017 comes to a close, here are the top three things that my team and I are thankful for:
The Abundance of Data
This is the best time to be a data-driven marketer because data is everywhere. If you’re skilled at your craft and can wrangle all the data coming from your digital and physical channels, you can:
- Strengthen your brand
- Improve campaign performance
- Orchestrate meaningful customer engagements
- Reduce database attrition
- Optimize budget allocation
You can achieve this with the help of the endless stream of data at your disposal, including:
- First-party data generated by your marketing and sales technologies, including web, mobile, connected devices, and even good old-fashioned physical channels.
- Open data is now widely available via government, universities, and communities such as www.marketingopendata.org. Open data can enrich and standardize your first-party data with little or no impact to your budget.
- Third-party data is more abundant than ever. There’s seemingly a new data provider emerging every month. Sophisticated marketers can create their own optimal blend of hybrid data services using data from multiple sources.
The Wide Selection of Technologies
If you like shiny toys, especially technology toys, boy, is this a great time to be a data-driven marketer. Most of you have probably seen Scott Brinker’s marketing technology landscape for 2017 (http://chiefmartec.com/2017/05/marketing-techniology-landscape-supergraphic-2017/). It “only” has 5000+ vendors in the supergraphic—so there’s no shortage of choice!
Worse than being a child in a toy store, however, this large technology landscape can be confusing, if not downright paralyzing. The wrong choices can easily set your team back by 12 months. In fact, many teams have accumulated so many technologies in the last three years, that it’s resulted in unnecessary complexity and overlap within the marketing technology stack, which is now having a negative impact on productivity and execution.
Making the best use of available technology can be the difference between a marketing team that executes successfully and one that struggles. In fact, given the sheer volume of data that marketers must deal with today and will increasingly have to deal with in the future, it’s clear the effective use of technology is mandatory for marketing success.
So, while we’re thankful for the wide selection of technologies, we’re also thankful that we know when to say no and avoid that extra serving of MarTech. As we look towards 2018, here are some key technology priorities a data-driven marketer should ponder:
- The last five years saw an explosion of point solutions that successfully tackled singular problems, but the proliferation of point solutions is now creating integration nightmares, not to mention the burden on your technology budget. In 2018, you should look to simplify and consolidate your technology stack with platform solutions that can replace a number of technologies you currently have.
- Most teams would probably have a hard time quantifying the ROI of the technology they have purchased in the last five years. That’s no longer acceptable. In 2018, take a hard look at every piece of technology you own. You will likely struggle to come up with ROI for much of it. Some technologies were probably purchased because they were a fad of the time and the lustre has now worn off. If you can’t quantify the ROI, then most likely you won’t miss it when it’s gone.
- A poorly integrated set of individual tools won’t do you any good in 2018. Whatever technology you decide to keep in your technology stack, focus on integrating and automating them, in terms of both data and processes. You will get more ROI by making the technologies you have work better together, than keeping on buying the next shiny toy or promised silver bullet.
Yes, we should be thankful for GDPR, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. The GDPR takes effect on May 25, 2018, and strengthens data protection for all individuals within the European Union (EU). It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU. It affects any company, including U.S. companies, which collect data or handle customer data containing EU citizen information.
Most of you probably think GDPR is the biggest hassle for marketers ever, so how can we be thankful for it? We should be thankful because GDPR will clean up a lot of the bad marketing practices that we see way too often. GDPR will significantly impact undisciplined, sloppy, and sometimes downright unethical marketers. If your marketing strategy is to buy a list and spam or stalk your audience online, then GDPR just killed your entire “marketing strategy.” However, if your marketing strategy is based on offering quality original content, as well as sophisticated nurturing via education, and you have invested time and resources to become a trusted advisor or source of information for your target buyers, then not only do you have nothing to fear from GDPR, but it will help reduce the noise you must fight through just to be heard. If the prospect’s email inbox is no longer cluttered with 400 spam solicitations, they will spend more time reading the thoughtful email you send with content they find useful. For that, we are thankful.
If like us, you’re thankful for the abundance of data, the wealth of technologies out there, and even GDPR, and now you want to see how they can all come together in a harmonious way, take a few minutes to see a Data Orchestration demo from Openprise.