Why Data Should Be on the Mind of Every Marketer

If you’re on an enterprise marketing team, it’s easy to get focused on all the work that’s right in front of you and consider data to be merely tangential to your job. You have messaging campaigns to plan, copy to write, emails to design, and analytics to examine. Data may inform all of that, but that’s someone else’s job. You just expect that data to be where you need it when you need it. And when it’s not, you may not be sure why, but it’s largely out of your control, so you keep your head down and do your job.

But what many marketers lose track of is the fact that data — understanding where it lives, how it gets there, and how you get access to it — needs to be the heartbeat of your marketing strategy.

Isn’t data I.T.’s job to handle?

This isn’t entirely wrong. Data governance and security are typically going to fall to the I.T. team, and they’ll likely have people who are rather protective of the data you have — especially if your organization considers particular data to be Personally Identifiable Information (PII). In fact, in organizations that copy and ship their data out to a CDP or an ESP’s marketing cloud to be used, I.T. may have an outsized influence on how data is used.

But this doesn’t have to be the case. As a marketing team, you can advocate for tools that make your data more organized and accessible across the organization. Modern data warehouses like Snowflake and Google BigQuery can give you a cost-effective way to store your data behind your firewall, and MessageGears’ products can plug directly into your database in order to make that data easy to use.

Letting MessageGears live wherever your data lives can greatly reduce I.T. involvement since then you can create dynamic audiences on your own — adding and subtracting fields from the entire database with a few clicks of the mouse — and can maintain data security since nothing has to leave the safety of your firewall. You can take ownership of your data in a way you never have before, utilizing it in a deeper and more meaningful way.

How does doing this help the marketing team?

Beyond gaining more autonomy over the campaign-building and sending process, along with the data itself, marketing stands to benefit greatly in three ways:

  • Better Messaging
  • Decreased I.T. Needs
  • Lower Costs
Better, more successful messaging

For the enterprise marketer, this is where the rubber meets the road: more engaging campaigns with a better ROI. More conversions and increased loyalty. Ultimately, that’s what you want. Can putting more focus on data achieve those universal goals?

The first part of answering that question is to establish what you can do with data. You likely know that customer data is the foundation of audience building for your messaging campaigns, as you target based upon whatever attributes you can get access to. What you may not realize is that there’s almost certainly a whole world of attributes you can’t currently use for personalization and audience segmentation — possibly including location, gender, spending, credit score, and many others, depending on your organization — if you haven’t taken the steps to make that data secure and accessible.

Doing so means thinking and planning with your data in mind, making the case for investing in tools that consolidate, organize, and connect directly to it. And I.T. isn’t likely to take these steps for you. They don’t know the campaigns you want to build; they’re just focused on protecting the data and, thus, the company. If you want to be able to send highly personalized campaigns based upon whatever attributes you think will help you tell your story, you’re going to need to be the ones to make it a priority.

And, for modern enterprise organizations, it increasingly needs to be a priority. Consumers are out there telling you through their actions and their desires that they want your messaging to be relevant to them. They know you have their data, and they’re even willing to share it as long as it results in a better shopping experience. Listen to them, and keep data at the forefront of everything you do.

Decreased I.T. Needs

We mentioned above that marketing taking a more data-first approach can help to reduce I.T. involvement, but let’s dig into that a bit more. Why, exactly, does being data-first help to give marketing more independence from the I.T. team?

Let’s start by saying that I.T. almost certainly doesn’t want to meddle in your marketing anymore than you want them to. In fact, they’d probably be happy never to get another request to add a field to your audience, and then have to tell you it’s going to be a few weeks before they’ll be able to both prioritize it and then get your ESP to make it accessible for you. And that’s if it’s a field they’re OK with you using for personalization, which it may not be. They don’t want to deal with broken feeds, schema misalignments, data breaches, and overnight refreshes. The autonomy you want, they’d love you to have.

With MessageGears, most of those walks down to the I.T. department are over. Once you’ve prioritized data and brought in a customer engagement platform that connects directly to your database, you can do almost everything yourself because now you’re actually working with your data, live and in real time where it lives. Add new fields at your whim. No feeds to break. No pre-defined schemas. The data is as secure as your firewall. And nothing needs to refresh because it’s up to date the moment it flows into your database.

A data-first approach allows you to declare your independence from I.T., and it’s a win-win for both teams.

Lower costs

We probably don’t have to sell marketers on the benefits of lower costs, but let’s dive in a little more deeply on exactly why — and how much — your team might be able to save on its budget with a warehouse-first approach.

Data storage is one of the most expensive parts of any Super Sender’s marketing strategy. When you get a bill from your ESP or CDP, that’s likely where a large chunk of that money is going. But the thing is, the data you’re storing there isn’t fresh, live, and original. It’s a copy that becomes quickly outdated. It’s adjusted to fit with someone else’s schema. And — most importantly — it’s the exact same data you’re already paying to store in your data warehouse.

Why would you pay to store the same data in multiple places? And, with the massive size of datasets at enterprise organizations, all those costs of data duplication and storage start to seriously add up. Not only are we significantly less costly up front than the competition because we don’t store your data, but our direct data connection has resulted in massive boosts to ROI due to better quality of messaging.

“Almost immediately, we saw increases in customer engagement as both open and click rates were elevated,” Blue Nile VP, Media and Performance Marketing Himanshu Sinha said. “After a few months of monitoring, we observed a net lift in margin and revenue per customer, greatly increasing our ROI – in fact, we’ve been able to capture 20% more abandoned cart occurrences using MessageGears because we are operating from our live data.”

When you think about your ESP as the center of your messaging universe, it’s easy to think, “Well, of course the data needs to go there so I can work with it.” But once you shift your mindset to data being at the center of everything, hopefully you start to realize how absurd it is that the data would be copied and shipped elsewhere. Put your data first, and marketing will see the benefits add up quickly.

About the Author

Jeff Haws

As MessageGears’ Senior Marketing Manager, Jeff is focused on producing engaging and thoughtful content that resonates with enterprise marketers, helping them to better understand how MessageGears makes their jobs easier. He’s passionate about understanding the way data impacts messaging, and he’s also hopelessly obsessed with baseball.