4 Scary Problems Lurking Over Your Marketing Data

October 30, 2017 Greg Hennessy

This is the time of year for ghost stories, scary movies, witches, and tricks before the next morning’s half-priced candy and Christmas decorations. These scary stories were designed to keep your children safe and close to home before cell phones and 24x7 parenting. In the Halloween spirit, I wanted to share some scary problems lurking over your own marketing data.


1. Marketing data silos are taking over

The nirvana state and best practice for customer-centric organizations and their marketing departments is a centralized view of the customer across all customer touchpoints. The central view of the customer has always been a challenge, but now organizations have almost completely abandoned this goal seduced by technology. An organization may not only have a few different customer data sources, but they have compounded this problem by adding numerous marketing clouds, marketing automation solutions, analytic platforms, along with a scattered set of mini customer data marts across email, digital, display ad, and real-time channels. Like the movie Gremlins, one cute, little, new marketing technology or cloud can turn into 10 or 20, each with its own slice of customer data and behavior. Before you know it, your organization may be overwhelmed with duplicate data, data sync, and maintenance costs, and much further from the goal of having a central view of the customer.


2. Data quality issues keep spreading like a virus

Data quality issues with customer and prospect data is another common problem marketing departments and organizations must manage. There is no debate that better quality customer data with fewer duplicates improves marketing performance. The proliferation of more data silos, marketing solutions, and channels multiply the data quality issues along with your costs trying to manage data quality. Like a zombie bite in Night of the Living Dead, these data quality problems slowly (like really slowly) spread, but inevitably spread and grow until you have a serious problem with zombie customers that waste your marketing resources and reduce your marketing effectiveness.


3. Your marketing data is lost in the deep, dark data lake

Data lakes are new technology that has created a lot of technology buzz and do offer a solution for big data. Data lakes use Hadoop and NoSQL technologies that allow for the vast collection of unstructured data. Organizations can now store everything and anything in one, big data repository. However, this ends up just being a large and unorganized collection of data that is great for storage or for artificial intelligence data crawlers, but difficult for non-technical users to use and organizations and marketers to leverage for value. This issue reminds me of the classic Poltergeist movie that has the family trying to reach their daughter (spoiler alert) who is trapped in another spiritual plane. Similarly, marketers know the data is out there in the lake somewhere, but won’t be able to easily get to it to use the data for promotional targeting.


4.GDPR is lurking in the shadows

Like any good horror movie, there is always a monster lurking in the shadows watching and waiting to attack. The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force on May 25, 2018. It is a new framework for European data protection laws with heavy fines up to 20 million EUR or 2% of annual revenue, whichever is greater. It provides for consumer data protections including the right to be forgotten, restrict processing, and right to access. Just imagine the costs to ensure each marketing system and data silo not only protects customer data but also extracts and even permanently removes a specific customer from all data sources and as well as your data lake! The GDPR is the boss monster / Jason Vorhees of marketing data scares.

These scary data stories are not meant to fill you with doom or dread, but really to help you consider returning to proven data management best practices. You can manage these risks.

  • Centrally control and secure your data in your own data repositories, control and track access, and reduce data silo proliferation across marketing systems and data silos.
  • Control data quality at the front end before loading it into any operational data source and then cleanse and consolidate this data in a central customer database for a single customer view.
  • Curate and organize your data from out of the data lake into the central marketing database to allow your marketers and analysts to easily and effectively execute customer-centric marketing
  • By doing all the above, the monster of the GDPR becomes less powerful and more manageable. Your organization controls the customer marketing data centrally, its security, and for processing consumer right to access and right to be forgotten requests which can then be replicated out to your supporting marketing systems and channels

Interested in making all this less scary? Schedule a demo of Aprimo Campaign. It is architected to allow your organization to continue to control and secure your own customer and marketing data and track all customer data output, while at the same time allows your marketers and analysts to easily access data for automated marketing campaigns.

About the Author

Greg Hennessy

Greg has over 20 years of experience working in the marketing automation software industry in product development, marketing, and consulting roles holding positions at various companies including Aprimo, Acxiom, Alterian, Quaero, IBM, Protagona, and Marketo. He has designed and delivered marketing automation solutions for large enterprises in the financial services, insurance, healthcare, travel and hospitality, high tech, retail, and media and entertainment industries. He is currently Director of Product Strategy for Aprimo Campaign and looks forward to sharing some of his personal insights, best practices and love of marketing automation, especially Aprimo Campaign. Contact Greg at greg.hennessy@aprimo.com or @gvhennessycrm.

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