Data : The Great Data Divide
6 steps to integrating your online and offline dataSeptember 2013 By Cassandra Liu
"In 1960, there were five marketing channels; in 2013, there are 60-plus marketing channels." This is an interesting statement I recently took away from attending the Pardot B2B Inspiration Tour. Sixty-plus?! No wonder integrating online and offline data has become such a pressing need and an increasing challenge for almost all marketing organizations.
As the mixing of an integrated campaign strategy and online and offline channels becomes more commonly practiced, siloed metrics (such as email open/click, ad impression/clickthrough, lead conversion, etc.) simply cannot satisfy top executives' curious minds about marketing's value and business impact any longer. In order to have a holistic view of our customers and their interaction and impact with the brand, an integrated database is key. If that's what you have in mind, I hope the following tips can serve you:
1. Identify Objectives and Benefits
While the notion of having an integrated database or data warehouse is obvious, it is still critical for you to outline the topline business objectives and benefits before you start building the database. Doing so will help you prioritize the data sources and data attributes that you need to integrate, and it will also have a direct impact on your project scope, timeline and budget.
For example, if your topline objective is to monitor word-of-mouth or customer referrals on brand awareness, then social media and review content may be critical. If your topline objective is to understand and optimize campaign attribution, then you would want to integrate as many online and offline channels as your communications apply. If your topline objective is to prove marketing's impact on ROI, then transaction data is just as important as both your online and offline campaign information.
2. Evaluate Data and Gaps
So, what data do you have access to (campaign, lead, opportunity, transaction, etc.)? Where are they stored (enterprise data warehouse, marketing automation system, sales automation system, personal computer, vendor hosted, etc.)? What formats are they in (CSV, Excel, document, video, text, etc.)? And, what types of data are they (structured, multi-structured, unstructured, etc.)?
Make a list and a fair assessment, because this will help you communicate effectively with your IT counterparts (or, if you are not technical enough, they can help you develop this list, as well). Once you have the list, it will also help you identify what data you don't have. Interestingly, while offline channels have a much longer history than online channels, it's the offline data that marketers often have the challenge of acquiring.