How can marketers help make customer data available automatically and fast?

There is much talk about how marketers can leverage customer data. However, this also means thinking about how this same customer data needs to flow throughout all the marketing platforms marketers use to do their day-to-day jobs. 

We have already seen how marketers can leverage conversion data in top-of-funnel activities. Now we will see how marketers can also ensure this data flows automatically and as quickly as possible throughout the appropriate martech platforms, without skimping on data quality and making useful data available to marketers faster.

Cleaner customer data coming in means this same data will be ready for activation (engagement, conversion) and reporting will be both quicker and automated.

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Bringing data from different channels together

Customer data is collected through many different channels (think email messages, organic content, paid media, app usage, etc). This data, coming from different places, must be ingested and unified in one place so the customer profile can be updated, enriched and made ready-for-use. For example, customer data can be used to refine paid media segmentation with publishers, or even direct SEO efforts by using data on customer website search. 

Marketers are critical in helping facilitate the gathering and reconciling of all this data customer coming from different channels, as they are the ones interfacing with such channels the most. Here is a four-step approach to help marketers ease customer data flow through various marketing platforms:

  1. Help collect and use clean data. Because marketers are in the frontlines, they are closer to activities that collect customer data, such as data collection forms or behaviors related to campaigns/channels. Marketers can be very helpful by ensuring these forms are properly set up from the get-go (the data is clearly labeled so your customer database can easily understand and ingest it). Conversely, campaign naming is critical, as they can be very helpful when sorting reports, etc. (more on that below). This task should always be led by marketers and never outsourced to external agencies (agencies can help execute, but should not lead it). 
  1. Properly format campaign naming and UTM tagging. UTM tagging, or data we add to call-to-action links, etc., can carry a lot of information that can help marketers. Channel, campaign name, medium and more details are all carried via UTM tags. They can also help with attribution data or defining how each channel contributed to conversion. Again, leadership on how the UTM tags nomenclature should belong to marketers, not external agencies (which will be allies in ensuring these are properly implemented throughout campaigns, etc.).
  1. Check for redundancies in martech stack platforms. Marketers should understand how their marketing processes play out within the company’s different marketing platforms. This gives marketers the opportunity to find redundancy and help eliminate it or decrease it. Marketers also have a chance to make better use of the existing platforms or start laying out what a new/additional platform should look like. To do that, marketers can start by understanding how these platforms are being used when it comes to customer activation, engagement, and conversion activities. Are there redundancies amongst the platforms in the martech stack (example: Two platforms are being used to send email marketing blasts)?
  1. Always keep an eye on KPI dashboards to ensure there is no interruption in data flows – even the best, most automated stack can have unexpected hiccups. By keeping an eye on the appropriate dashboards, marketers can quickly flag issues to all appropriate stakeholders – and suggest edits to dashboards to better help visualize the important metrics. 

Since marketers are the ones directly involved with customer activities for engagement and conversion, it is in the marketers’ best interest to help ensure customer data flows as easily and automatically as possible, allowing for conversion data to be a quick input back into top-of-funnel activities.

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