Who cares about marketing data?
In a recent survey conducted by Patricia Seybold Group and the Information Technology Services Marketing Association (Survey on Data-Driven Marketing, March 2011), more than 100 marketers reported what types of marketing data most interested heads of other departments. Customer data was the hands down winner, recognized as the top choice by CEOs, COOs, Business Unit Leaders, and Service Delivery Leaders. The findings (see below), while not statistically significant, do raise some questions worth pondering.
|Type of Data||Top Choice For:|
|Customer Data||CEO, COO, BU leader, Service leader|
|Sales Accepted Lead Data||Sales leader|
|Markets Data||CTO (2nd choice for CEO)|
|Marketing Programs Data||CFO|
|Competitor Data||None (2nd choice for Sales, Service, CTO)|
|Contacts Nurtured by Marketing||None (4th choice for Sales)|
Consider first, the kinds of data needed to understand sources of future growth (markets, competitors, customers) and the kinds of data needed to understand short term opportunities (customers, competition). Then consider what is needed to forecast short term success (sales accepted leads, contacts nurtured by marketing). Finally, what is needed to allocate budget dollars (marketing programs data).
It occurs to me that marketing has started its measurement activities in the area of least value to the company (marketing programs data). It is, fortunately, moving higher in the food chain to using contacts nurtured by marketing to forecast revenue. But still that is mechanics — can’t be ignored but not the source of the real value to the company. It is time for marketing to set its sights on growth and provide credible information to the rest of the organization on customers, markets, and competition.
Approach this like any other project — understanding what other departments are trying to accomplish and then providing information that helps them do that better, faster, more easily, more expertly. Providing credible marketing data to the rest of the company requires organizational outreach — crossing departmental lines, understanding needs, communicating effectively, and building relationships that foster mutual achievement.
That said, it is not all about the rest of the organization using the data…it is also about marketing’s uses of data to find new opportunities and capitalize on known opportunities. Be just as disciplined about the needs analysis for the marketing department. Afterall, you are/should be leading the charge.