The conflict between strategy and implementation, humans and technology, as well as between marketing and IT departments, just represent a few hurdles in the implementation of data-driven marketing. In order to turn this into a success, besides having to deal with these obstacles, Martin Clark, Managing Director of the marketing software solution provider Apteco, formulated five resolutions.

The key for marketing decision makers is to understand how to navigate around these hurdles and create promising conditions for their data-driven marketing success:

1. Become independent from IT and (hardly) ever wait in line again

Whoever does not set fixed resource conditions - be it technically, structurally or systems-based - is often punished with long waiting times, detours via IT, as well as scarce and expensive resources.

"It is not rocket science to overcome these obstacles and to build the infrastructure for data-driven marketing in such a way that the decision makers move from the passenger to the driver’s seat, and in this way decrease dependency from IT", Clark sketched. The marketer has to stand in the center, as he best knows the issues and therefore needs direct data access to resolve important issues.

2. Gain time and turn from being the hunted into the hunter

Decisiveness enables you to act and allows a rapid system implementation, if there is the need for it. In addition, keep in mind: "Whoever is not playful, flexible and willing to test ad-hoc campaigns, in order to learn from them how to optimize a roll out (based on what competitors are up to right now), lags behind in the market", Clark explains. In times in which long, planned communication loses in value, it is fatal if a long planned dialog attempt only takes limited account of the immediate needs of the customer, Clark explains. "Whoever would like to benefit from a higher pace through the use of data-based marketing, can get started in a small scale – in a “start-up” kind of way - and employ his creativity profitably this way. Willingness to take calculated risks opens up new opportunities. The main thing is that the marketer quickly learns and begins to act instead of reacting", he adds

3. Pull the plug on data silos

Whoever holds on to the separation of online and offline inevitably prevents a data consolidation and bogs down with many decentralized data pots and chaotic information flows, denying himself a 360-degree view of the consumers. "If, instead on cross-channel communications, you set and enable spontaneous interaction of campaigns, you can inspire your clientele with relevant, timely and targeted communication", Clark says, but insists: "In order to achieve this you have to pull the plug on data silos and let your teams use a consolidated database. With a holistic view it is possible to develop multichannel campaigns through automation rules for trigger events and frequency capping", the Apteco-boss explains, in reference to non-routine and moderate communication. Therefore, a recently contacted customer ideally receives only one relevant kick-start email, SMS or call during the first week of first contact.

4. Through ‘small data’, the Big Data gains drastically in meaning

It is possible to draw knowledge by analyzing the available data, and through it generate additional revenue. But for strategists, it is particularly important to get information derived from automatically processed "big data", to then also be able to extract meaningful "small data" and produce visually appealing objects which are comprehensible to the human brain. "Only the step to small data allows analytical thinking. This will help in the next step of the process, namely the ‘doing’, to convert information into ideal campaign measures", Clark explains. At this stage, the marketer needs to set the context and formulate the strategically important questions.

5. Increase efficiency and effectiveness, by making sure that analysis and automation go hand in hand.

“If you separate analysis and campaign-automation - the two main aspects of data-driven marketing - you will generate extra costs through uncoordinated marketing efforts”, states Clark. "You will therefore also not be able to act in a timely manner or put to use the findings of the campaign in time", he warns. “This means more losses and lower sales due to a lower response, however, through data-based automation and scaling, which must work hand in hand, you can counteract this effect in the digital age and use your budget effectively and efficiently", Clark concludes.

By Roger Stadler