Using data in marketing is a tremendous competitive advantage for any organization, in every industry. Data is the fuel powering business processes, machines, sensors and customized user experiences. As a result, enterprises today are confronted with an unparalleled opportunity to put massive amounts of data, structured and unstructured, to work in optimizing their businesses. Companies can streamline business processes through consolidated applications, build efficiencies through real-time collaboration and decision-making, and improve their total customer experience through data-enabled interactions. To succeed as a Data Ready Enterprise, companies are faced with the imperative of building a data-driven marketing team that can put massive amounts of data to work.
To build a data-driven marketing team, companies must first identify who inside or outside of their organization has a proclivity for data analytics. More importantly, data analytical skills can also be learned, as Informatica has discovered in transforming the culture of our own marketing organization into a data-driven one over the course of the past couple of years. Through our process of transformation, we have discovered that the best data scientists in our marketing organization have a natural curiosity about the business, a natural affinity for the data and a need to make an impact by coming up with those “ah-ha” moments.
In the course of our marketing organization transformation, we’ve also found that the biggest obstacle to creating a data-driven culture is a lack of leadership. Most people are afraid of data and they are afraid of being involved in situations where they don’t know the numbers and don’t understand how the data represents their business. So, an effective leader must first create the safe environment that marketing team members need in order to become data literate. The marketing organization leadership can then proceed to address the data literacy problem through education, exposure and practice.
Developing a data-driven organization can be a journey of months or years, but it can’t be ignored. CMOs need to have access to the right data so that they can not only drive performance, but also quantitatively demonstrate the impact that their activities have had on corporate revenue. And, as an added benefit, CMOs can even become data experts in the process. For example, people around the office recently have been calling me the “chief data officer.” Members of my marketing team who two years ago would have laughed about “doing math with Marge” have come to realize the transformational power of the math and now have some of the best analytical skills in the business.