The New Data Silos: Are your marketing tools connected?

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Remember the early days of marketing, when our “CRM” was a spreadsheet? Or worse, just index cards? (Geez! How did we survive?) For the longest time, our old tools created the dreaded data silos. We thought we had resolved the issue, until there were so many new martech tools to choose from. Here we are again – data silos!

We’ve come a long way since then, with every technology making it easier to collect data and determine who our customers are, what they want and how that’s changing over time. But just like marketing trends are cyclical, so are our stumbling blocks. Data silos are back in a big way, and they’re hampering our ability to see the complete customer profile from one marketing tool.

You probably have two or more marketing tools to process customer data, such as a marketing automation tool or email platform, a CRM, a web analytics tool and perhaps an e-commerce database or a customer login database on your website. If these tools aren’t sharing the data you have on every customer, you’re missing out! You’re creating your own data silos! Boo!

So, how do we fix it?

Like so many things, it starts with the awareness that you have a problem. I recently had a sit-down with one of my clients about their four marketing tools and how we can bridge the data gaps among them to have a seamless, silo-free view of their customers.

Here’s what we looked at – and what you can, too.

1. Identify all the tools your marketing team uses. For most of us, including this client, that is: a website, a marketing automation tool, a CRM and an e-commerce database.

2. Define the purpose of each tool.  Here are a few questions to work this through:

  • Why was each tool adopted in the first place, and in what sequence?
  • What data does each tool collect?
  • Where are there redundancies in your data collection?
  • What data is being lost in the ether?

3. Explore how connections can make for meaningful, useful results. We run this exercise backward and forward. First, what data gaps exist, and what do we lose from a marketing perspective by not connecting them? Then, what can we gain, tool by tool, if we connect them all? Here are a few examples we talked through:

  • Your marketing automation tool collects clicks from your emails, and your website shows you web traffic. Can you currently determine which emails are driving the most sales?
  • If a customer creates an account on your website and builds a wishlist of your products, do you show them the items from their wishlist in the next promotional email they receive?
  • If a customer receives a coupon in the mail, how likely are they to make a purchase at a store, and can you connect that purchase to the coupon you sent the customer?

4. Make it happen. There are multiple ways to get your tools to share data, so I recommend that your marketing team and IT sit together and talk it out. But no matter how you do it, more often than not, you’ll increase productivity and sales, and your customers will have a better, easier experience!

Massa’s data silo presentation

Here’s a brief slideshow that can get you started thinking about your data silos and how connecting them can bridge a customer data gap that can lead to higher revenue. Be sure to look through the Google Analytics connection – that can be an easy fix for your web team.

Need a little help identifying or connecting your data silos? Give us a call: (312) 463-1050.


Food for Thought: Butter Muffins

Last month’s recipe was about being able to leave out an ingredient without harming the taste or integrity of the dish. It’s the same with data migration – sometimes you bring over all data to a new data platform in a migration, and sometimes you don’t. It all depends on what type of customer experience you are shooting for.

Cooking is similar. Sometimes you better not leave out an ingredient, and this butter muffin recipe comes to mind. This is a very easy recipe to put together, and the simple ingredients are most likely already in your fridge and pantry. With something this basic, it’s best not to leave any of these ingredients out.

Go ahead and try this three-ingredient recipe. It’ll make your brains fall out.


About the Author:

Bonnie Massa is Founder and President of Chicago-based Massa & Company, Inc. She works with companies and nonprofit organizations to make the best use of their information about customers, partners, donors, and sponsors. She works with organizations to attract new customers, find the best ways to segment and reach out to existing customers, analyze customer behavior to predict future behavior, and increase the value of their customer base. Bonnie is known for being a good listener and for working hands-on with her clients. Her ability to establish rapport, both one-on-one and with large groups, has its roots in her passion for the theatre. Bonnie founded and operated a nonprofit performing arts company in her hometown of Cookeville, Tennessee and taught public speaking to barely tolerant freshman at Tennessee Technological University. She speaks fluent “geek” and is an effective translator between business executives and technology experts