The dream of many investment management marketers is to use data efficiently to create content that drives engagement and generates insights that aid strategic decision-making. While both are theoretically possible, the reality is often very different. Most organizations have problems with data that is unwieldy, overwhelming, and underutilized. According to a recent survey, only a quarter of investment management marketers feel they have good data processes in place. *
That’s why data was the focus of our most recent quarterly private marketing roundtable, jointly hosted by Synthesis Technology and Evalueserve. Synthesis CEO John Toepfer moderated a conversation with marketing strategy and operations professionals from medium and large investment managers about the challenges they face in achieving their data goals and how they can find a better way.
Overwhelmed with data
While privacy laws and firewalls prevent some types of data from being collected, a far bigger problem for marketers is that they have a lot more data than they can use or manage.
The sheer amount of data has grown exponentially over the past few years as both digital marketing tools and touchpoints have increased. In contrast to yesterday’s simple marketing funnel, customers and prospects today determine their own, often cumbersome, paths when interacting with your company through multiple traditional and digital channels – each of which generates a lot of data.
At the same time, your company has likely added more tools to its technology stack over the years than it has retired. The result can be a complex mix of applications that expose different types of data in different formats to different teams. The CMO of an investment company founded more than 50 years ago described their “collection of new and legacy systems that don’t talk to each other.” But even newer companies may have multiple tools that generate data that not everyone who could use it can access.
A roadmap to success
While a new data technology tool (or more) may be part of the solution, the wide and growing variety of such options can add to the feeling of overwhelming. As of April 2020, there were more than 1,200 different marketing data technology tools in the market, many of which offer similar functionality.
The key to a better future of data is not a new tool, but a well thought out plan. “Moving to a robust data analysis process is a journey. It doesn’t all happen at once, ”said Jan Choy, vice president of data analytics at Evaluserve, a global data analytics company. “But.” She adds, “You can win quickly in just a few months.”
Although every company is different, Jan outlined a basic roadmap that she follows to help companies in different industries get the most out of their data.
Step 1: start measuring and reporting. Use the tools currently available (such as Excel) to make basic performance measurements. When you begin to quantify when, where, and how different audiences are interacting with your communications, you will have more clarity about where to focus your efforts and what additional tools you need.
Step 2: manage campaigns. Determine how you will use content to generate leads and build customer loyalty, including determining which topics position you as a trusted partner.
Step 3: develop a 360-degree view of the customers. Plan the customer journey across multiple channels to understand the drivers of engagement at each touchpoint.
Step 4: measure aAttribution. Determine each channel’s contribution to loyalty, conversions, and additional revenue. You can use this attribution information to demonstrate your team’s impact and quantify the return on investment in marketing.
Step 5: improve the overall value client travel, including cross-channel personalization of experiences.
Step 6: reverse engineering customer journeys. Understanding the most successful experiences better allows you to focus on efforts that tend to produce positive results.
New marketing skills that are absolutely essential
Many of the functions required to turn data into scale insights have traditionally not been in the marketing field. For example, you need to consolidate and standardize various data points that may be collected and stored separately. You also need to implement functional pipelines that allow different groups and applications to access the same data in a format that is meaningful to each.
No matter how knowledgeable your marketers are, they likely aren’t trained for this type of data development and analysis. Because of this, more and more companies are expanding their marketing banks by adding dedicated data scientists to the team. A senior marketer for a large global investment firm said they plan to double the number of data analysts in the coming year.
The best time to begin your data transformation roadmap is before your systems get too complex. Companies in earlier growth phases with simpler infrastructures and management structures can often move faster through the process. However, regardless of your size and stage, the sooner you can make data-driven decisions, the better.
* Source: Content Marketing Automation Benchmarking Survey, FUSE Research Network and Synthesis Technology, December 2020.
Author: Emilie Totten
Emilie Totten is Chief Marketing Officer for Synthesis Technology. Emilie brings over 15 years of integrated sales and marketing experience in the areas of financial services, SaaS and health and wellness companies. Her passion is to develop holistic marketing strategies that are tailored to each business function in order to enhance customer experience, advocacy of employees, … Show complete profile >