Six Essential Practices of the Data-Savvy Marketing Organization

  • 12 Apr 2021

Momentum ITSMA

Six ways that data-savvy B2B marketers can use data to tie marketing activity to business results and influence business strategy.

Linking marketing performance metrics to business metrics is a top challenge for most B2B marketers. While our research shows that marketing organizations are more data-driven than ever, many marketers still struggle to tie marketing activity to business results.

Based on ITSMA’s research, we have identified the six essential practices of the data-savvy marketing organization.

First, though, we need to define what it means to be “data savvy.” To become a data-savvy marketer, marketers must stop merely using data to prove marketing’s value and begin using it to improve results and drive business strategy.

In our Measuring What Matters to Improve Marketing Performance survey, 36% of the respondents can be classified as “data-savvy marketers.” Members of this select group share important characteristics that set them apart. They:

  • Connect the dots between marketing activity and business results to prove marketing’s impact on the business
  • Use marketing data to optimize lead management and nurturing
  • Track and report metrics and data that are understood and trusted by their executive leadership

So how do these data-driven marketers do it? They follow these Six Essential Practices of the Data-Savvy Marketing Organization:

#1: Eliminate data silos and standardize metrics

Data-savvy marketers invested not just in new technology, but also in talent, training, and administration. Marketing technologists work with IT and cross-functionally to integrate marketing automation, sales automation, CRM, and financial systems. The ultimate goal is to build a centralized, integrated database that will provide a single view of the customer.

#2: Report business impact—not just marketing metrics

Data-savvy marketers do more than report marketing activity and use data to justify the marketing budget. They also use data to optimize marketing programs and the marketing budget to achieve superior results. And then they take it a step further: they link marketing performance metrics to business metrics.

#3: Communicate data and insights via a combination of push and pull programs

Marketing needs to communicate in several ways to several audiences with varying levels of knowledge—using both push and pull vehicles that are both low- to high-touch. In addition, marketing has to do a lot of educating, keeping in mind that simple is better and visual is best. Finally, data-savvy marketers have to go beyond producing reports, charts, and graphs; they must consult with and make recommendations to stakeholders.

#4: Use metrics and analytics to improve marketing performance

Data-savvy marketers use analytics to fine-tune their marketing programs and activities to improve performance. They use attribution to not just justify but to optimize their marketing activities and budget allocation, which is how they can create true business value while also generating leads and executing campaigns.

#5: Marry data and experience to create optimal insight

Insight happens when you combine data with experience and intuition. In today’s digital-first world, mastering this combination is key for data-savvy marketers. While data scientists are great at finding patterns in the data, it’s up to the marketers and business leaders to make sure that those patterns mean something.

#6: Provide business leaders with data and insight to inform strategic decisions and grow the business

Data-savvy marketers act like business people first, and marketers second. Through its insight activities, marketing brings an outside-in orientation to the rest of the company, which helps the business formulate business strategy. Marketing can then implement a strategic marketing program to support and execute that strategy, keeping the business leaders’ plan to grow the business top of mind.

For more information and case study examples, download the full Update: The Six Essential Practices of the Data-Savvy Marketing Organization, which includes the latest research and case studies from ITSMA on the six key ways marketing can improve its value to the business and influence business strategy.

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