The need to integrate data in business processes is obvious and companies are today spending millions to ensure this. There are obvious benefits that we get out of data integration. But as we realize the complexity of the information that we have access to, we are now confronted with the problem of creating a data infrastructure.
The sheer volume of data on virtually everything means that we now have a complex set of data that is highly fragmented. The challenge with this has always been about how we use this data. How do we take out what we need? How do we bring together data from different sources and collaborate on a given function? We are already seeing a kind of integration with enterprise CRM, cloud and even Software development in India.
The integration of organizational and customer data has been the matter of integrating various known and already accessible data points. However, integrating marketing data has been far trickier than that. To begin with, we are working with a very diverse set of data which has to include a far wider scope of information web.
Then comes the scale of the operation. Theoretically, we could be working with an almost worldwide set of potential customers. Because we are aiming not just for the present customers, but also potential consumers, the data has to come from multiple points.
We are also looking at a specific function, one that cannot be clubbed with other organizational processes. We may have overlap from other departments, but marketing is highly specialized function with its own set of priorities and functions. In short, we urgently need a data source that has been tailored for marketing teams, available at real time and with enough scope to widen the cope as the organization grows.
Key Elements of a Unified Marketing Database
The aim here is to unify and tailor data that can be then used by marketing teams. Most of this data is already available. So, we begin by unifying the three big sources of data — Big data, cloud and point solutions. It is important to note here that we are not planning to replace any of these. Rather, the aim is to complement these data points.
Most already have the data dump from various sources that make into the Big Data warehouse and data solutions are already working in culling the information. But we need a more marketing-centered approach. In addition, organizations also have point solutions — different organizational software where data is logged in everyday. This is information that comes in from every point — from the salesgirl to the VP.
It gives us important clues on how we interact with our customers, their feedback and the bigger picture in our policies. Finally, the cloud acts as both a source and dispersal of the database. Not only do we use it to gather information, we can also use it as a hub for the database we create.
Despite the over-reaching arch of internet communication, customer interaction is not limited to online access. We are using multiple channels and platforms to reach the consumer, such as the print media, Ad sales, real world marketing campaigns and even call centre interaction. All this is goldmine of information for a marketing team and we need a solution that can tie all the threads together. We need a holistic view determined focus on consumer behavior and their preferences and this can only be achieved through mining off-line sources.
Real time access
Marketing as a function needs immediate as well as long-term goals and functions. While data hub for sustained planning is essential, we also need real time access whenever and wherever it is required. This is where we improve on APIs. A marketing data hub automates both data entry and access, ensuring that your team can get access to critical data at real time.
Here, we are also looking for phrases and behavior that can trigger marketing attention. Focus on likely profiles, purchasing patterns and even searches.
A unified marketing data solution may sound like a fancy term, but stripped to its essential, it is designed to carry out one of marketing critical functions — to create the ideal consumer profile, look for potential consumers and target them effectively. Where it goes ahead of its competitors lies in the ability to form a complete profile by curating multiple sources and binding them together in way that we can access at an instant.