A good friend and former colleague of mine Dan Neely, CEO of Networked Insights reminded me recently that there will be more data created in this year than in the previous 5000 years combined!
With all this data the question many CMOs wrestle with is – How to manage so much data from so many sources and separate systems to drive insights on how customers behave? With the goal being a seamless and consistent experience as customers and prospects pin pong across a variety of channels.
A recent Forrester report called The Intelligent Approach to Customer Intelligence does a good job outlining the challenges of creating data that can truly be used for driving strategic marketing decisions (what they call Strategic Intelligence).
But for most B2B marketers like myself – we tend to optimize by the channel of data that we have. For example I get: Social Media reports, Blog data reports, Website data reports, Campaign data reports, Launch result reports, Traditional Media reports, Lead reports and of course Budget reports to name just a few. With all these endless reports no wonder it ‘feels’ like we never can get any true customer insights – since all we can do is look down these channels and get a singular view of customer activity.
This doesn’t take into account some of the more forward looking ideas like tracking not just mentions of the brand online but Conversations as well as Facebook Insights reports and coming soon Mobile marketing reports!
I agree with the premise of Forrester’s article that we have to start heading toward Enterprise-wide customer data but its not a simple black and white path. And furthermore the path is unique to each company. Since each one of us has a different variety of reports coming a litany of systems like SAS, Aprimo, Webtrends, iCrossing, Radian6, Facebook, Vocus, WordPress and where it isn’t automated then it’s just Excel.
To create data that can truly put you on the path to Strategic Intelligence has to become one of your New Year’s resolutions for 2010. If you have any insights on how best to get there please share them.