Businesses don’t understand the true value of their data

Marketers are uniquely equipped to see all the audience data flowing into their organizations. “Businesses still don’t understand the true value of the data they have access to,” says Gurman Hundal, co-founder and CEO of MiQ. “[Mar-tech and ad tech] platforms are controlled by marketers, and they are the best sources of data in today’s world.”

There’s no question that marketing tools have streamlined data collection and analysis and helped minimize marketers’ reliance on unwieldy spreadsheets. But by over-relying on technology, marketers may be letting black boxes make too many decisions for them, foregoing intuition, emotional or cultural context.

Within the walls of any company, it’s the marketing department that boasts the deepest understanding of customer data. It’s marketers who work directly with ad tech platforms and analytics tools to understand exactly how customers are behaving across devices and channels. Interpreting the data and making it work for a brand’s strategy is still largely a human endeavor — or at least it should be. That’s where marketing intelligence comes in.

Diving into the data
Marketing intelligence isn’t just a corporate mindset, and it’s not enough to hire a few analysts. Taking it a step further, it’s a holistic approach to analyzing and using data.

Marketers operating under a “marketing intelligence” ethos combine first-party data with data related to paid media. By unifying paid media data with owned-and-operated data, marketers can glean actionable insights from mountains of customer data that’s previously been siloed on various platforms.

“It depends on the campaign and the genre of course, but generally you can’t just look at paid media and advertising in such a silo anymore,” said Lauren Jennings, media director at Havas. “Marketing intelligence is the summation of everything. What’s your PR doing? What’s your CRM doing? All of the different pieces in addition to paid.”

It all comes back to plugging the right people into the work at the right time. The solution here isn’t sexy: Marketers need to empower experts, educate their employees and put people in the right places so that all this data can be analyzed, synthesized, understood and acted upon.

Re-building legacies
It’s often the major legacy brands that struggle to operate from a true marketing intelligence standpoint. That may seem counterintuitive — after all, they have major resources, including a lot of data. But marketing intelligence isn’t about possessing resources — it’s about supplying marketers with the proper human expertise and technological sophistication to form a complete understanding of all the data flowing through the organization.

Personnel is just as much of a concern. Legacy brands have found that they haven’t hired enough tech-savvy marketing experts who know how to synthesize and act upon the information flowing in from different parts of their organizations. Nor have they been able to effectively recruit against the Netflixes or Ubers of the world.

Many of these companies are struggling to fundamentally comprehend their data and communicate it effectively on an interdepartmental level, creating rifts in priorities and workflows.

Companies have customer intelligence, business intelligence, artificial intelligence and media intelligence. But they don’t have the people or the human ingenuity necessary to synergize and interpret all of it.

If brands need to seek synchronicity between their numerous platforms and meld their first-party and paid data, while weaving the human ingenuity of specialized technology experts and data scientists into their marketing DNA, as well as empower their marketers.

Tech-savvy brands, such as Netflix and banking brand Monzo, come to the table with a good understanding of marketing intelligence. They are tech-born, tech-bred, and the marketers

that drove their success possessed a mastery of data from the beginning. Brands that follow suit will continue to emerge — and they’ll be able to work much, much smarter.

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