Data data everywhere. That was the theme of the Tuesday evening as DataSift and W2O Group hosted an event in Palo Alto entitled: What the Future Holds – The Impact of Data on Marketing Trends in 2015 and Beyond.
The evening was punctuated by a panel discussion lead by Jeremiah Owyang the founder of Crowd Companies and anchored by guests LaSandra Brill from Symantec, Becky Brown of Intel, Aaron Strout of W20 and finally yours truly from DataSift.
Being a recovering business intelligence, advanced analytics and accounting type, I was amazed by the common themes I heard in the both the benefits of a dearth of data and the potential to do so much more. This really unleashed my inner data geek.
First and foremost on the minds of Becky Brown and LaSandra Brill was that while we are getting a ton of data, the format, quality and consistency of that data is poor and getting into a usable format is far from easy. So while data is being generated making use of that information is a monumental task. This is and always will be the #1 challenge in any analytics project. It represents a huge opportunity for the data wrangling blending community to empower marketing analysts to bring together this information in a meaningful and consistent fashion.
This lead to further discussion around an emerging role in enterprises today namely the Chief Data Officer. For the uninitiated this might seem to have a huge overlap with the Chief Information Officer role, however, the CIO is focused on infrastructure and efficiency often relegating data and analytics deep into the bowls of IT. This role is now elevating data to it’s rightful place for providing competitive advantage to every department and helping us marketers improve our overall ROI for the money we are spending.
Further adding to the data deluge is the lack of standard or common reporting. I think each of us on the panel were suffering from reporting overload and not enough information or insight. Coming from the finance world I could always rely on my good old financial statements to measure the business and provide solid comparability of performance across my industry and other companies of similar size.
These standards simply do not exist in marketing today. This means we as marketers get too many “pretty” reports but none of the hard hitting empirical validation that most financial analysts expect and rely on. Huge opportunity – yes, but is it going to happen any time soon? Not likely as the discipline of marketing analytics is new even to the most advanced companies and certainly is a long way from even forming a body to create some standardization. I’ll put a prediction about marketing analytics standardization into my 2018 and beyond bucket.
So with all the new data science driven tools, new content delivery and audience identification capabilities and the use of data to drive content creation we are way farther ahead as marketers than we ever have been and 2015 will see even more data generated. However, until we face the age old data gotchas of data quality, common metrics and benchmarks we will not realize our full analytical potential as marketers.
Thanks all to a great evening of discussion, meeting brilliant people and enjoying wonderful food and wine. Onward to 2015 and a new set of opportunities and challenges from the Human Data being generated all around us.
You can read a post on the event Michael Brito on the WCG blog.