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Data-Savvy Marketers: How To Break Down A Last Remaining Silo

August 11, 2014

silosOld-school marketers were organized in distinct camps: creative types who drove messaging and sales collateral, and analytics and tech pros who used data to manage and analyze programs.

While many marketing organizations continue to maintain silos for these and other functions, the days of narrowly defined marketing roles are numbered. Customers don’t consume information in silos, so neither can marketers operate in one-dimensional roles.

In fact, strict functional roles are an outlier in modern marketing organizations, which are quickly tearing down technology silos to enable marketing and customer data to move easily between systems.

The single biggest reason to break down marketing silos is marketers’ need to quickly act on the vast amount of data available to them. Data-savvy marketers aren’t about to wait on a dedicated analytics team to deliver insights they use to drive campaign performance. Instead, they’re realizing the benefits of a self-service approach:

  • More proactive campaign tracking yields real-time response to performance trends
  • Marketers keep a constant eye on marketing performance, which leads them to smarter, data-driven decisions about content, messaging, targeting and more
  • Greater overall analytics expertise translates to a stronger culture of performance
  • Senior-level analysts are freed from routine, transactional reporting as marketers perform more of the quick, lightweight analyses they need

This all sounds reasonable, but how do I go about finding creative people who are analysts too? What traits should I look for when hiring new marketers?

Here are my recommended qualities to hire for and develop in your current team, culled from interactions with organizations that are driving the evolution of marketing org structures:

1. Data-driven

Modern marketers ask early and often about the availability of data, requesting tangible, metrics-driven support of decisions and strategies. Marketers who speak in generalities about campaigns that worked well or failed, without data to back them up, are still enrolled in the old school.

2. Unwilling to take no for an answer

Virtually every marketer will encounter roadblocks to information, as well as individuals who want to maintain silos. The bigger the company, the more (and more immovable) the roadblocks. Those with a passion for data-supported marketing, however, won’t let legacies be a deterrent. They’ll start modestly, taking whatever data they can get. Then, once they’ve opened the door enough to let some data seep out, they’ll kick it down and let data flow.

3. Anticipates questions

A data-savvy modern marketer will never let a campaign, offer or piece of content go in front of customers or prospects without robust tracking. He or she wants to measure every possible link, graphic, clickthrough and created sales opportunities so performance can be analyzed granularly. That’s not to say every piece of data gets used. But comprehensive tracking should be in place, and it can be used as needed to isolate causes of success or failure.

4. Focuses on the customer/prospect

You can instrument until you’re blue in the face. Collect data until your storage infrastructure is bursting. But if your user experience sucks, so will your results, regardless of how many marketing best practices you throw at your campaigns. So make sure your marketer has a laser focus on the user’s experience with your brand: simple messages; clear calls to action; message readability; ease of completing registration forms, to name a few. Marketers who eliminate friction for visitors, customers and prospects can focus on building and enhancing the relationship. Those are the marketers you want to employ.

There's no better time to address marketing silos in your organization, invest in team training and development, and prep your business case for key data-savvy pros to hire. It’s time to shatter those silos, using data as your sledge hammer!

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By  Scott Vaughan

Scott Vaughan is CMO of Integrate, a marketing technology software provider automating top-of-funnel marketing for B2B marketers to enable demand marketing orchestration. Scott leads the company's go-to-market and growth marketing strategy. He’s passionately focused on unlocking the potential of marketing, media, data and technology to drive business and customer value.

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