Data Friction Research

Research: Data Friction Takes a Financial Toll on Enterprise Brands

For years, it’s been clear that syncing data back and forth to their ESP’s cloud has been a drain on enterprise brands, given the massive size of their datasets and the sheer volume of personalized messages they send on a monthly basis. It’s a business relationship that’s only been sustainable because the ESP marketplace doesn’t offer many alternatives that are truly built for the Super Senders rather than the mid-market.

But what hasn’t been as clear is exactly what those costs look like when you drill down to the marketing level. What are the obstacles that are being thrown in front of marketers dealing with these constant data syncs, and how are they impacting their day-to-day work? The Relevancy Group set out to better understand that with their research report, “The Hidden Costs of Data Friction.” They surveyed more than 400 executive marketers to learn how the realities of data syncing is impacting the work they do, and some of the answers they got are borderline shocking.

The survey found that marketing teams across various industries are syncing an average of more than 10 million customer records with their ESP — including as many as 14.7 million for the retail industry — and they’re exchanging a wide variety of types of data as well. Over 49% report exchanging purchase and transaction data with their ESP, which for many enterprises represents a significant volume of incremental data that allows them to drive more valuable and engaging communications. Nearly 49% report passing images, templates, and other content assets, and 46% exchange inventory data regularly with their ESP. Working with these deep datasets requires resource-heavy implementation, increasing the workload for syncing.

It also creates even more challenges when everything doesn’t go as planned.

Data feeds break. A lot.

With 87% of marketers reporting that they perform data syncs between their internal database and their ESP’s cloud at least weekly, the impact of any malfunctions is magnified. And it turns out, those malfunctions are happening at an alarming rate. Across all industries, respondents said they face problems with their data feed at least once per week, with most reporting issues on an average of twice or more each week. That’s despite them also saying they spend approximately $3 million every single year on moving that data back and forth.

That doesn’t necessarily take into account all the time, effort, and opportunity cost that goes into these purely operational tasks. And those can add up very quickly as well.

It takes a long time to integrate with the cloud

The challenges once you’re up and running with a legacy marketing cloud ESP are one thing, but just getting to that point is its own long, arduous task. Enterprise marketers across industries reported more than 8 months of time spent migrating systems and getting fully operational with their ESP, and many spend well over 9 months. That’s a significant amount of time to spend with various disruptions and not having all your systems connected and running normally. And the time can get even longer when dealing with the most complex campaigns that require more data integration to make work.

That’s time that costs manpower and money for any enterprise organization, and it’s time that can’t be spent doing more revenue-producing work. What would marketers do with all this time if they had it back?

Marketers could do their jobs better without having to sync

Once all that time is spent on merely getting the systems aligned, there’s no way to claw it back. But marketers have plenty of dreams of what they’d do if they could. Almost half said they’d give personalization a boost, delivering more tailored campaigns that drive more revenue. More than 40% said they’d segmentation, identifying the right audiences for the right messages, and close to 40% wanted to become more strategic rather than spending so much of their day merely pushing the necessary buttons to keep the trains running on time.

All in all, this report paints a troubling picture of the difficulties Super Senders face with legacy marketing cloud ESPs, spending millions of dollars every year just for the sake of being able to send the campaigns their customers expect, and then having problems frequently arise anyway. Moving to a customer engagement platform that sits directly on top of their data could eliminate these issues, and free their marketers up to be more strategic, sending cross-channel messaging campaigns that these brands are expecting.

Download the full report for free to learn more about marketers and their challenges with data syncing.

Jeff Haws

With 20 years of experience in journalism and writing, Jeff brings an expertise in producing impactful content, identifying audiences, and writing in a way people will want to read. He’s focused on helping businesses better understand who it is they’re talking to, and helping them reach those people via the power of words.

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