In a time when data is at the core of everything, stating that good marketers should feel comfortable with data-driven marketing is like spelling the obvious. Yet, for most marketers today, mastering a data-driven culture remains an issue, as eMarketer recently described in an article entitled “Why Marketers Are Experiencing Data-Driven Growing Pains”. Yet, solutions are appearing on the market to help assuage the pain.

Data management and technology are still marketers’ major pain points

According to a survey of 154 marketers and influencers carried out by Adestra and Ascend2, data management and marketing technology were considered to be the most difficult digital marketing tactics by 47% of respondents. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of skills and resources which prompt businesses to resort to third party in order to manage their data.

Over 7,000 technological solutions are available in the Martech landscape

The most important and interesting insight from that survey however, is the fact that when businesses manage to regain ownership of their data internally and solve this resources issue, they are subsequently faced with towering difficulties when trying to stitch together the flurry of disjointed technologies which make up the marketing landscape.

Data-driven marketing

Based on a 2017 survey of 113 advertisers, marketers, publishers, technology developers and marketing service providers in North America

It is impossible for a Martech player not to feel sympathy for the average marketer who is struggling through the profusion of available Martech solutions.

A look at Scott Brinker’s latest Martech landscape infographic will explain the situation in a matter of seconds. Here it is, taken from his website:

Scott Brinker's Martech landscape

Scott Brinker’s Martech landscape evolution taken from his Webpage with its 7,000 Martech technological solutions. It also shows how increasingly complex the landscape has become over the years.

CDPs (Customer Data Platforms) simplify access to marketing data

The main consequence of this plethora of solutions is that companies are massively facing the inability to access their data and this is one of the main issues preventing them from making better use of customer data. Yet, in my eyes, solutions exist, and the rise of CDPs has occurred in the attempt to simplify the access to data and campaign orchestration.

The CDP concept sprang from a 2013 blog piece by technology consultant David M Raab. It is a solution based on the collection of all actionable online and offline customer information, therefore allowing a 360° view of one’s marketing data. CDPs not only fuel programmatic advertising, they make it possible for cross-channel marketing to be more effective. In a nutshell, CDPs provide views of one’s customers, leads and visitors with a very high level of granularity.

The CDP is an alternative solution to previous failed attempts at unifying customer data, such as data lakes. With the advent of the CDP — a booming market set to reach $1 billion revenue by 2019 — it is at last possible for marketing to be “in direct control of the data unification project, helping to ensure it is focused directly on marketing requirements.”

Using a Customer Data Platform (CDP), customers should be able to consolidate their customer data into one location. This enables for immediate benefits to any marketer who would like a clearer view of his customers as well as an easy access to their data for both segmentation and analysis.

Well-crafted CDPs help connect known and unknown user profiles

Above all, it's possible for marketers when CDPs are well designed, to connect the unknown and known profiles of their users. This allows for the creation of multi-channel campaigns across traditional marketing channels of email, SMS, and push, as well as the unknown marketing channels of display advertising, social ads, and Google Ads campaigns.

Better understanding the customer journey

The insights that marketers will derive from the use of their CDPs will enable them to better understand their customer journey. When such a journey is better understood, it makes the job of determining the next best communication more efficient and the communication more effective.

Instead of having teams work out of separate tools for separate functions, they should focus on having them all work in the same tool. The CDP can then help marketers work on acquiring new customers, engaging their existing customers, and determining insights on any of their campaigns. This would definitely help the 48.1% of marketers that are looking to dissolve silos between business/functional groups.

Data management should no longer be a headache

Data can be a boon or a bane for any company. With the technology that is available in 2018, data management should no longer be causing a headache for marketers. CDPs can help achieve that goal and this is definitely the route Mapp has taken with its work on the Mapp Cloud platform.