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Challenges for big business in a data-driven 2017

The below is an extract from #7for17 – seven views on the future of marketing. Click here to download the full paper.

Enterprise business are constantly looking to adapt to the changing landscape of consumer expectation, regulation and technology.

Large enterprise organisations have their own particular issues which often stem from their sheer size and a legacy of processes and business decisions. While it’s clear that being a large company has its perks, I don’t think I’m being unfair when I say it does bring some particular challenges. Many of these challenges originate from a lack of flexibility and the need to deliver much higher volumes than smaller and more agile competitors and partners.

When it comes to marketing, the challenges represented by data regulation and the need for transparency alongside GDPR pose significant pain points for large companies. They are challenges of a different style and scope than those facing smaller businesses. The largest by far in my view remains the issue of silos. In the 2016 Digital Marketer Report we found that 37% of marketers work in teams that are broken out by channel. Not bad right? Well, when you look solely at marketers who work for enterprise organisations that number jumps up to 59%.

Silos in your marketing approach are a huge barrier to being able to deliver seamless customer journeys. This is because modern marketing requires brands to communicate intelligently with their customers. Not as a multitude of different voices but as one single entity.

Because of this, individual channels cannot be treated in isolation and this is where silos become a serious concern. Consumers expect a cross-channel approach and brands that are riddled with organisational and channel silos are going to struggle to operate one.

The need to tackle transparency being driven by GDPR regulation brings the issue of silos further to the fore. In order to put the customer first and ensure you are not only operating in a legal manner but are also putting the needs of those customers first (relevancy, seamless experience etc.) you need to have a consistent view across data sets and your CRM.

In order to make the most of the insights you glean from your data they need to be applicable across all your channels. Data-driven decision making revolves around building audiences and deploying them across all your channels – doing that across teams responsible for individual channels is challenging. Marketers need to be able to build audiences based on insights from across channels and then deploy them across channels. This is nowhere more important than in a big well and known brand – where retention, acquisition and brand image are so heavily reliant on the customer experience.

Technology stands hand in hand. With different data sets come different uses and repositories. It’s easy to remember a time when marketing was a function that wasn’t very tech savvy. The number of vendors (largely software companies) that are vying for marketers’ budgets has grown exponentially over the past few years.

The challenge will be to fully understand the solutions available to CMOs and to identify the right partner(s) to solve technology-related challenges.

As we look forward into 2017 and beyond big brands need to emulate their smaller and more flexible cousins and make sure data is at the heart of what they do. Data can bridge those silos but only through the use of consistent technology and a desire to put the consumer first will this be achieved.

This article is an extract from #7for17 – seven views on the future of marketing. Click here to download the full paper.

This article is about: Data, enterprise