Despite seeing the advantages to unifying data, many marketers are finding it complicated to implement a strategy to unify and manage data. In fact, 7 in 10 of the marketers surveyed for a report [download page] from Ascend2 and its Research Partners say that doing so is either extremely (17%) or somewhat (54%) complicated.
The survey found that marketers are trying to accomplish several objectives by implementing a data unification and management strategy, with the top goals being improving customer engagement (46%) and improving customer experience (43%). Others are looking to streamline marketing and sales efforts (29%), improve lead quality (25%), improve ROI (24%) and improve internal communication (24%).
When implementing a data unification and management strategy, some of the most essential elements are thought to be making unified data actionable (28%), storing and managing data (28%), finding an appropriate data management solution (27%) and standardizing data (27%). However, the largest percentage of respondents say that maintaining data quality (36%) is the most essential element for implementing such a strategy. Indeed, a study from earlier this year found that about 9 in 10 marketers are making data quality one of their data management priorities in the next 6 to 12 months.
Nevertheless, although these elements are essential, they are proving to be challenging. More than one-third (35%) cite maintaining data quality as one of the biggest challenges marketers are facing when implementing a strategy to unify and manage data. And while not appearing among the top elements for success, fully one-third (32%) also say that cross-departmental cooperation is a challenge.
By comparison, fewer respondents are finding proving ROI (16%) and receiving executive buy-in (13%) to be standing in the way of implementing a successful strategy.
Technology also stands as a challenge. Respondents cite finding an appropriate data management solution (27%) and storing and managing data (26%) as challenges. When it comes to selecting a solution, some of the most critical components considered include usability/ease of use (49%), integration with existing technology (44%), the overall cost to manage (43%) and data visualization and reporting (33%).
Consumers are less than optimistic about their online privacy, yet marketers are making an effort, with data security management (35%) and data privacy management (30%) considered some of the most critical components when considering a data management solution.
The full report can be found here.
About the Data: Findings are based on an August 2021 survey of 297 B2B and B2C marketers, half of whom worked at companies with at least 50 employees.