Data-driven decision making is the main aspect of any successful online marketing campaign. Without proper tools and resources to integrate and analyze data from multiple sources, marketers are at the risk of changing the strategy, pausing/discontinuing well-performing campaigns, modifying budget, or switching multi-channel approach without a clear understanding of the consequences.
When thinking about data analysis the majority of online marketers would most likely express the following concerns:
- Data overload
- Data manipulation challenges
- Data validation difficulties
- Data tracking obstacles
With the increasing amount of customer data available to marketers nowadays information collection can be overwhelming therefore it is imperative that marketers effectively store and process information flooding in from a variety of sources. It is critical to understand that data discrepancies may affect the quality of the reports and as a result impact the decisions that are being made by the upper – level management, thus it is important to validate the data, fix and clean it up if needed so that the data is accurate, consistent and ready to be analyzed.
Summarizing, the following challenges are being faced by the marketers in today’s world of analytics:
1. Unreliable data.
The quality of the information appearing online varies depending upon the source it is coming from ranging from official companies’ websites and government portals to blogs. The marketer while conducting secondary research should make sure that the source is valid.
2. Demands more focus on processing.
The marketer should be well-versed in processing, categorizing and arranging collected data into reliable information as it is one of the major tasks in the marketing research. Also, the data that needs to be transferred to the company’s database and its growing size require architectural approaches to providing the adaptability, usability and automation.
3. Challenge of SEO optimized websites.
Very often it may become challenging to obtain relevant websites since low quality (“junk”) websites appear in the top search results due to the focus on the effective SEO.
4. Demands different mindset.
Internet requires a more focused and conceptualized research in order to retrieve right information using various tools and techniques.
5. Data consolidation.
Data marketers must concentrate on data integrity and consolidation aspects of analysis. Firstly, building and maintaining a customer relationship database might be one of the most effective solutions. For instance, a customer might show up in multiple databases – Direct Mail and Online databases – making him/her look like two different customers, therefore it might be efficient to build and maintain a one centralized CRM database that consolidates data from different sources (mobile, social media, direct mail) and databases which increases reporting accuracy and integrity. There are different ways of attracting people so that they become part of the company’s database. Some companies encourage potential customers to register and become a part of their databases, and through this research marketers will begin to understand behavioral characteristics and define appropriate segments for them. The company may choose an option of collaborating with third-party vendors such as Leads360 Management system or Salesforce or decide to build an internal database if both financial and technical resources allow. Secondly, there is always a chance of a human error if the report is being prepared on a regular basis, therefore automating reports using tools available such as Visual Basic coding, SQL scripting or Windows task scheduler, will decrease a possibility of a human error and will allow to concentrate on other critical tasks.
6. Data security.
Over the past year, the marketing industry was attacked by several data breaches that threatened online data collection and behavioral targeting. “Breaches occur because more and more information is getting collected these days,” says Spyro Kourtis, president and CEO of Hacker Group. “All of these companies have more people across departments and groups within the company collecting more information and having access to it across the company. And many marketers are working with a few different partners who have access to this data, and that makes it more at risk” (Dilworth, 2012). For example, “American Red Cross is practicing “data reverence.” The organization is Payment Card Industry compliant and it makes certain that all donor data is encrypted. In addition, the nonprofit does not sell data to third parties. “Security is absolutely paramount,” Elwood says. “We have to be really diligent about it and are constantly monitoring our security procedures from a fraud perspective. Our donors put their trust in us, and all of that information will remain secure and confidential” (Dilworth, 2012).
7. Production of actionable reports.
With the rising volumes of data available one of the main challenges for the marketers is to translate data into actionable insights. In addition, it is extremely important to make sure that right people have access to the insights and act based on this information.
8. Excess data.
As stated earlier, Internet contains vast amounts of data which is relevant as well as irrelevant to the research marketer. The problem is to locate the right piece of the information which is needed for the certain type of analysis. To achieve that the researcher has to have a high level of expertise with the tools and techniques that filter out unnecessary information.
Dilworth, D. (2012, April 1). Marketers tackle data collection challenges. Retrieved July 30, 2012, from www.dmnews.com: http://www.dmnews.com/marketers-tackle-data-collection-challenges/article/232213/3/