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Big data is both a blessing and a curse for marketers. We want to make impactful, data-driven marketing decisions and we possess mountains of data to aid us in this endeavor. So why do we feel so overwhelmed?

In this post we will discuss the challenges marketers face with big data and how technology can help us gain control.

We Lack Timely, Apples-to-Apples Reporting

In the dark ages, marketers scrambled to gather data – any data, to inform our decisions. Now we have the opposite problem. We have an incredible amount of data and we are challenged to make sense of it all.

The difficulty stems from the fact that marketers are collecting data from multiple sources. Each of these sources collects and reports data using different methodologies. Marketers need to gather all of this information and cobble it together into something actionable.


This process is incredibly time consuming. It is also difficult (if not impossible) to combine the different sources of data and it is prone to error. To make matters worse the information is practically dated by the time we’re done and we still haven’t spent any time deciphering it.

Solution: Stop stitching together disparate data sources!! Invest in a technology solution that will track all your data independently (using a consistent methodology) and provide you with a single source of the truth.

Choose a solution that is customizable to your unique business environment and that will compile the data into a form you can use. This will save you endless hours and will result in a reliable and timely source of data you can trust.

We Have a Limited View of the Customer Journey

The customer’s journey is complex. They engage with multiple sources of media along their path to conversion and without something to connect that activity marketers are flying blind.

We can cobble together disparate sources of data all day, but this will never provide us with a complete view of the customer journey. We will be able to see individual customer encounters, but we won’t know when those encounters took place or the order in which they happened. And we have no way of understanding the effectiveness of those encounters.

This is what the customer does . . . .

Customer Journey

This is what the marketer sees . . . .

Marketer's View of Customer Journey

Solution: Select a technology vendor that provides full visibility into your customer’s journey. Seeing how your customers engage with media throughout the conversion path will provide you with a much greater depth of insight.

We are Unable to Value Media Across the Customer Journey

Once we have visibility into the customer journey, how can we use that information to inform our decisions? We need to answer questions like:

  • Should I shift spend from social media to paid search?
  • Should I change the commission structure for my media partners to optimize their efforts?
  • Am I spending too much on paid search for keywords that would have prompted customers to click on natural results for free?

To answer these questions we need to know how much value each customer touchpoint brings to the table.

Value of Media in Customer Journey

Solution: Advanced technologies attribute value to each touchpoint along the customer’s journey. This exposes the worth of every channel, media source, media partner, campaign, ad creative and keyword.

By capturing and analyzing this data, marketers can shift spend away from overvalued media and toward undervalued media to optimize their marketing efforts.

We Cannot Translate Data into Actionable Insights

Let’s assume we have solved the preceding problems. We are using technology to gather all our data and piece it together. We have a complete picture of the customer journey and we can assign value to each touchpoint. Now what? How do we use this information to guide our decisions?

Solution: Before investing in technology, vet your solution provider to determine what level of analytic support they are prepared to provide. All the data in the world is useless if you don’t know how to use it to make decisions. Choose a provider with a world class support staff that will provide you with the training and support you need to make the most of your investment.

Today’s marketers have the power of big-data at their fingertips but without the right technology it’s useless. Document your key challenges and decide what you wish to accomplish with your data; then find a vendor who can address those needs completely.

Contact us to learn how we help marketers make confident decisions by turning big-data into useful information.

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