Digital Journal

Digital marketing is seeing many changes, especially relating to the importance of data gathering and then using the analysed data for marketing purposes. conDati’s CEO Ken Gardner provides some insights.

Digital marketing is the marketing of products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the Internet, but also including mobile phones, display advertising, and any other digital medium. To be competitive in the digital marketing space, the use of data analytics is crucial. Tools to achieve this include the conDati Marketing Analytics platform.

The platform is profiled in the companion Digital Journal article: “Interview: Cloud based data analytics.” To understand more about the growth and application of digital marketing, Digital Journal caught up with conDati’s CEO Ken Gardner.

DJ: How are those in marketing using data these days?
Gardner: Over the last 5 years, the cloud has taken over marketing. Every company that does either marketing or sales over the web uses at least 5-8 cloud-based martech systems, and many use dozens. Each one of these systems generates a constant stream of information — all in its own data silo, with its own reporting structure, analytics and set of dashboards.

DJ: How has digital marketing grown in recent years?
Gardner: In parallel, digital marketing has grown to hundreds of billions of dollars per year and will soon account for more than half of all global advertising spend (including print, TV and radio). The problem is, there is no way for a marketer to collect the results of a company’s campaigns into one spot and see how they’re performing in terms of revenue and other goal conversions, costs, and consequent return on investment / return on ad spend. The extraordinary growth in digital marketing — 35 percent compound annual growth rate over 20 years, with no end in sight — means that a vast amount of money is being spent with very little visibility, accountability or oversight.

DJ: What makes for a good digital marketing campaign?
Gardner: For a marketer to understand how a company’s campaigns are performing and which are the best or worst or if there are any problems or opportunities to pay attention to, there are several options:
The most common is screenscraping from each individual silo into a spreadsheet to create a highly selected but integrated view of the data. A Forbes article estimated that no more than 1-3 percent of marketing data is ever used in analysis or review — which seems about right, based on our discussions with customers and prospects and our own experience as marketers. Aside from being highly selective, this approach is very expensive; manual errors creep in all the time; and the results are always, by definition, in arrears.

Dip into every dashboard and every report in every system. The obvious problem here is the amount of time required. You *can* do this, if you have 4-8 hours per day — but most people have a regular job. The non-obvious problem is that the different systems don’t synchronize their data. For example, Google Analytics does not pick up the cost data for Facebook ads, and Facebook doesn’t track the website revenue conversions that are collected in Google Analytics.

Build your own system for automated, integrated reporting. Again, very possible: you license a datalake, install APIs for each system, sync the data structures, build the reports, and keep them all current. For a mid-sized company, this is $200-$400K+ in software, plus a couple of developers and a report builder to get it going. Then annual costs include $20-$40K on software maintenance or licenses, IT support, the report writer, and a business analyst.

DJ: What’s the main problem?
Gardner: It’s also worth noting that these three approaches solve only one problem: integrated reporting. If a company wants any kind of predictive or prescriptive analytics, then it also has to invest in a data science team — at $200K-$400K per head.

Read entire article on Digital Journal.