The lofty goal of raising the profile of marketing in our organizations requires that modern B2B marketers set very high bars—for themselves and their departments:
“Owning the full customer experience.”
“Proving marketing ROI to leadership.”
“Driving higher revenue through marketing alone.”
“Creating agile marketing infrastructures the fail fast, learn and optimize on the fly.”
Truly sophisticated B2B marketers know that the path to a seat at the executives’ table relies on two things: proving marketing’s economic value and actively improving marketing capabilities with authority and resources. But for far too many of us, there’s just one hitch.
Marketers are consistently denied access to the customer data they need because the data is siloed away and scattered throughout a maze of multiple internal owners.
Your target—the ability to drive the exact right, personalized message to the right buyer at the right phase of his or her buy cycle at the right moment on the right device; and to capture, measure and optimize each of those interactions all the way through the sale and customer lifetime value—requires an enormous amount of data and tracking integrations across the enterprise.
Whew! And the systems where that customer data is stored?
If these three sets of customer data do not live in a central customer data platform (that would be ideal) or aren’t at least synced via APIs, you're left with an expensive martech stack that is really just a glorified email marketing suite with some basic retargeting and account-specific displays.
While we can’t tell you exactly why your organization may be stalled for want of key customer data, we can tell you that many companies are stuck in this particular driveway for two simple reasons:
If you are walled off from the data your marketing team needs, you need a smart lobbying plan, a strong business case and pounds of persistence.
If you are going to get a bunch of customer data owners to the table to commit to a lengthy data integration effort that will provide them with little to no benefit, you’re going to need more than flowers. You need executive sponsorship. Identify senior executives who have specific, known goals for the organization and build a lobbying plan and business case tailored to each of them.
Here are some data points for a set of common executive preoccupations:
“We need to improve our customer experience.”
“We need to avoid being commoditized.”
“We need to do more with less.”
There’s no getting around the final stage. You need face time. Butter up executive assistants. Make connections, especially with your CIO, CTO and other stakeholders in your IT department. Remember: They aren’t the bad guys here. Their jobs are to keep company data safe. Data management is scary for those entrusted to manage it. Find out who comes in early or stays late. Stalk them if you have to.
Finding 10 minutes to make your pitch in that person's terms and then present a clear vision of how this integrated data world could come to fruition if only someone put her or his stamp behind it.
If you make traction, make the ask for the executive sponsorship of a data integration initiative. Reiterate the benefits for the enterprise using the arguments most in line with your target’s priorities, then make it clear that success is unlikely without him or her.
Come up short? Don’t be afraid to ask why and probe if there is anything you could do to help make it a priority. No dice? Move on to your next executive.
Overcoming these challenges as an industrial marketer is undeniably difficult. Yet, without it, there is simply no path to the future you’ve worked so hard to realize.
Need someone to have your back through the process? We’re always happy to chat.