For anyone who works in customer experience, it’s a real challenge to go five minutes without being sermonized on the importance of using big data. Unfortunately, it’s an even bigger challenge to use the tools that should help them do just that.
A new report by Econsultancy and Oracle Marketing Cloud highlights the major challenges today’s marketers must overcome when it comes to using data management platforms (DMPs). The report, which surveyed 170 senior marketers all over the globe, provides key insights into why it’s so hard to harness big data technology, especially when the goal is to go beyond standard cookie tracking, and provide a unified cross-channel experience to the customer. Here are four numbers that illustrate the most common obstacles.
Not enough data scientists
You can buy the shiniest, most technologically advanced aircraft in the market, but it’s basically a lemon if you don’t have the right pilot. A majority of respondents (32%) in the Econsultancy survey cited “Lack of internal expertise” as the main reason why their company isn’t using a DMP. Other reasons such as “Cost” (12%) and “Low on priority list” (7%) didn’t seem to factor as much. This finding clearly indicates that the capabilities of the software are developing at a faster rate that its users, and it’s creating a massive demand for data scientists to come and make sense of all the numbers that the machines are spitting out.
However, the really successful companies aren’t closing the skills gap by hiring more data scientists. Instead, they’re training their marketers to be more adept at handling data, and demanding that DMP vendors make software that’s more intuitive, and utilizes predictive intelligence to replace the heavy lifting that data scientists have to do. There’s a big opportunity here for DMP vendors to distinguish themselves in a crowded marketplace by creating software that any type of customer-experience professional can not only operate, but use to craft the right type of questions.
IT is in charge of data
Not only do most companies lack the right type of people to operate their DMPs, they usually end up giving it to exactly the wrong type of people to manage. 56% of survey respondents in the Econsultancy-Oracle report state that their IT department is in charge of managing the DMP, with only 16% giving the responsibility to marketing, or an analytics department (12%).
As Christian Bartens, CEO of big data analytics agency Datalicious says in the report, “The marketing department should own the DMP, but supported by a specialist third party… We wouldn’t recommend the IT department to own or run the DMP, as they usually do not have the right skills or incentives to succeed.”
Once again, the impetus is on DMP vendors to create software that can be operated with ease by marketers and analytics experts, and only requires IT to install it.
Old tech doesn’t play nice with new tech
An important role that IT does have to play is integrating DMPs with the company’s current stack of marketing/customer experience software. In an ideal world, data from all a company’s customer touch points is triaged into a single data management platform, which then allows a skilled analyst to make actionable recommendations based on the findings. In the real world, it’s extremely difficult and time-consuming to get disparate software systems to simply feed information into each other.
While a lot of DMPs today come pre-equipped with integration capabilities, most of the time they simply don’t work with the legacy software systems that companies have already spent thousands of dollars installing. In the Econsultancy-Oracle report, 38% of respondents said “Legacy technology” was a major challenge in getting maximum value out of the DMP, followed closely by “Disparate nature of datasets” (35%). As Tom Roberts, managing director of the digital agency Tribal Worldwide explains in the report, “A lot of enterprise content management systems have personalization built in and if you’re a business that is already paying a lot of money for those licenses you don’t necessarily want wholesale change.”
There’s no doubt that harnessing the power of Big Data poses major organizational, and strategic challenges for the today’s marketers. But these figures highlight just how much of the problem lies in the technological part of the equation. It’s up to marketers to demand much more of their DMP providers as partners in customer experience success.
Click here to download the complete report from Oracle Marketing Cloud and Econsultancy (registration required).