Top 4 Major Data Challenges for Marketers in 2021

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top data challenges

Any kind of crisis can be good. It wakes you up.  – Ryan Reynolds

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According to Gartner’s senior executive, “This is a wake-up call for organizations that have placed too much focus on daily operational needs at the expense of investing in digital business and long-term resilience.” The current Covid-19 pandemic has acted as a black swan event and created an unprecedented amount of disruption to people’s lives and business operations. Digital transformation (DX) has now become a business imperative priority for most organizations. 

Due to the unprecedented uncertainty of the current pandemic, there is no way we can accurately predict the “new normal” in Covid-19’s aftermath, but what is certain is that knowing and understanding your customers is the core of every successful business. And thus, it is vitally important for organizations to build a solid data and technology foundation that is able to provide a single source of truth for your customer data. It is the very first step of your digitalization journey that empowering and making your team work together for a better customer experience, especially the customer-facing teams from sales, marketing to customer service.  

The Data Challenges

According to Forrester’s research, only 29% of businesses said they are good at connecting analytics to action. Nowadays, most businesses have a treasure trove of valuable customer data, and those customer-centric businesses who are equipped with the right data competence will be able to gain sustainable loyalty from their top customers and even potentially unlock new innovations to reshape the boundaries of their business. 

However, in this endeavor, businesses will be facing numerous key challenges. 

Siloed Data

siloed data

The rapid rise of omnichannel has witnessed the generation of massive amounts of customer data, sales data and product data, which undoubtedly provides businesses with unprecedented opportunities to gain deeper insights from customers. However, for businesses, it is also a huge challenge to aggregate and unify these massive data from multiple sources (such as e-commerce systems, POS systems, online marketplace, social commerce, CRM systems, ERP systems, etc.). Just like the sailor who stayed on the lifeboat after the ship sank, there is water everywhere, but you can’t drink a drop of it.

Data is everywhere in the organization, it is increasingly available and captured in a variety of different systems, but somehow it failed to provide a single source of truth for your business to capitalize on the data for its intended purposes.

Poor Data Quality

data quality

Since the beginning of modern computing, there has been an old saying “garbage in, garbage out” (GIGO). As more and more data is collected, stored, and used, the issues of GIGO or data quality are becoming more important than ever especially in marketing. Everything from customer personas, content strategy to media attribution modeling relies heavily on the accurate data that drives your marketing strategy and decision making. 

Imagine this, if your data at the entry point is incomplete, inconsistent, duplicate, or out of date, then your report and analysis will eventually be wrong, and your decision will be flawed as well. Up to a certain point, you won’t even trust your data. In short, much like garbage, bad data only gets worse over time. 

Thus, it is not difficult to imagine a future where data accuracy is vital to every business. Although there are some software or solutions available in the market to address the problems, still, it requires an organization-wide commitment to treating data as a valuable asset to fully embrace data quality management and prevent GIGO.

Poor Data Access

data access

It is safe to say that you believe in the importance of being a truly data-driven organization and its significant business impact on your organization. However, without data democratization, no organization can become truly data-driven. This idea sounds simple to understand, but it is far more difficult to practice.

You may have had previous experience that when you requested the marketing data from your technical team, they may take several days to generate and extract the data for you. 

There is no doubt that in today’s digital environment of business operations, speed is of the essence. Thus, data democratization becomes so crucial to every business than ever in empowering a more engaged and accountable team with the ability to make informed decisions at speed.

Lack of Data Competence

data competence

Anyone who has ever tried to analyze thousands of rows of marketing data in an Excel spreadsheet can attest that it is a very cumbersome and time-consuming process. For many of us, the volume of data is growing much faster than our tools and abilities for analyzing it. Eventually, it ends up we are spending more time prepping data, rather than conducting a quality analysis.

Without a solid data foundation, proper knowledge, effective tools, and refinement, even with the most accurate and complete data, you won’t be able to extract valuable insights from the data.

Start Your Data Journey

Building a truly data-driven organization is not just important, it is a matter of survival. In the coming future, the ability to make good use of data will be crucial to the businesses to outperform their competitors to innovate, grow, and capture value. But no worries, it is not too late. Start today, you can try identifying what key challenges that holding your marketing team back from making the most out of your data.

With the right tools, people, process, data, and technology foundation, you will be able to overcome the key data challenges and upskill your team with powerful data competencies to future-proof your business.

Having strained resources to kick start your data journey? You may explore our BI and Data Analytics solution and see how we can help with your business intelligence & data needs.

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