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It pays to be discerning when
it comes to customer data

Even the most data-driven CMO can have too much information thanks to the glut of competing marketing solutions.

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Standard metrics can help even the least digitally savvy CMO uncover strong signals through all the noise.

Big data and analytics are transforming marketing. Out of this opportunity has grown niche-marketing solutions that provide genuinely illuminating insights—as well as those cataloguing the most mundane. With so much customer data available, it’s essential that CMOs choose to consistently measure those that will provide enduring value and drive business decisions and ignore those that are just distracting.

widely disseminated infographic from Chiefmartec.com illustrates the dizzying array of solutions available to distract even the most seasoned CMO. It is no surprise, therefore, that according to an August 2013 report from The CMO Survey, CMOs use analytics to help make decisions just 29 percent of the time.

Too much data, not enough insight

Your customer data needs to collectively provide actionable insights. It’s difficult to trust data from disparate marketing tools if you can’t determine its lineage or ensure its quality. A firm grasp on the KPIs (key performance indicators) you intend on measuring on a consistent basis is essential. Equally important is a data integration strategy that will allow you to tie together data from all your systems to provide a single comprehensive view of each customer.

Creating a set of consistent KPIs is an important first step. Standard metrics can help even the least digitally savvy CMO uncover strong signals through all the noise. If you are unsure of the metrics important to your particular industry or audience segmentation, it’s worth consulting an established company such as Marketo. The marketing automation solution provider has published a valuable list of 10 KPIs, for instance, particularly valuable for those just starting to institutionalize their metrics. Topping the list of measurements that every marketer should be recording is sales revenue, customer acquisition costs (CAC), and customer lifetime value.

Look for exceptions to the rule

Seasoned CMOs will find that consistent metrics will reveal anomalies in the data—such as areas where marketing spend is unjustifiable or time-to-pay-back CACs have plummeted. For example, real-life events are expensive to produce and might have much lower attendance than webinars. But, you may find that the leads at these events are more serious about making a purchasing decision and ultimately provide a greater ROI (return on investment).

Innovative sourcing is also helping CMOs glean more data-driven insights. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems, for instance, house deep reservoirs of data. But the smart CMO also looks to less conventional sources. Layering sentiment analytics for brand mentions on social networks or web traffic reports from affiliate marketing programs on top can yield hidden gems of information.

What impact are brand ambassadors having on online communities? What defines the most profitable customers and why? Is your sales force incentivized to expand your footprint in the marketplace, or is business as usual a safer bet for them? Answers to the right probing questions, assuming the answers are consistently measured, can be a differentiator for a CMO. And a single dashboard view of mastered customer data can transform a marketer into a business leader capable of influencing decisions across the organization.

Learn which metrics Informatica CMO Marge Breya consistently uses in the Crimson Metrics podcast “How to build a successful content marketing system for demand generation.”

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