The data hang-up: Three scenarios unusable customer data creates for marketers

With every moment that passes, more and more customer data comes into existence, just waiting to be analyzed and implemented into a home-run strategy. The sheer volume of it, scattered across so many systems, makes it tough to use. In fact, there’s so much data that often it’s more of a problem than it is a solution. Look no further than the average company’s LinkedIn or Twitter feed to see how data overload can cloud judgment and make decisions harder.

Too much data, bad data, difficult-to-use data — for people in consumer-facing businesses, it’s helpful to know that almost every marketing team shares the challenge. No one’s alone in facing the data hang-up. In fact, there are three common scenarios marketers face when customer data quality isn’t prioritized — and there are steps to take when it comes to using data more effectively across every enterprise.

Data isn’t trusted, so data isn’t used

Different data points tell different stories about the same customers and segments, and it can be hard to know which version of the truth is reliable. 

Even when marketers recognize the need to clean up and consolidate, time constraints can often lead to sweeping customer data issues under the rug. The show must go on. The team has to power through. Data can wait. The next thing they know, they’re reporting pipeline and having to explain why a marketing plan was a bust. Back to square one.

With too much data to organize, marketers just guess

By the time many enterprises realize how serious their customer data issue is, the data is already fractured into silos, usually in outdated systems that don’t speak with one another. Kind of reminiscent of family reunions, actually.

Aggregating data from legacy systems without the right tools is about as fun as sitting through Uncle Eddie’s latest political rant, so what do marketers always do? Follow their gut. Who knew business systems and family holiday dinners had so much in common?

The truth is that following a gut feeling may not put the marketing plan off track immediately, but it will soon enough. Where it might be only four degrees off the first week, that will add up, and before long, the marketing team will be moving backward and against the current. And in the business of ROI, that’s extremely costly and takes a lot of work to course-correct.

Marketers have to act fast, and they’re afraid data will slow them down

Most marketing teams have heard buzzy phrases at their company meetings, with colleagues touting how quickly their team executes. Being quick is, of course, important, but speed will never solve the issues that speed causes. When it comes to data, the problem with moving fast is that it takes dedicated focus to get it into shape for use, especially if marketers lack the right tools.

Even though the end of the month is unforgiving, and deadlines don’t care how much work it takes, when all is said and done, accurate customer data is usable customer data. Having usable data is paramount when making the right decisions at the right moments, increasing ROI along the way. At every stage of a campaign, taking the time up front to get critical data into shape helps marketers work faster in the long run.

Next steps for better data scenarios: The right tools and techniques 

Many, if not all, consumer-facing companies share these three pain points at some point. To overcome them and to achieve positive campaign outcomes, leaders need to look for tools that solve the challenges standing in the way of turning customer data into great experiences and profitable results. As outlined in Amperity’s recent guide to customer data — finding partners with these three capabilities will set marketers on the path to success:

  • Reliable customer identity
  • Universal access across teams
  • Accurate customer intelligence, activation and ROI measurement

With the right tools and techniques, customer data can go from being a hang-up to a power-up.