Consolidated Data is the Future. Are You Prepared?

Let’s start with the basics. Martech, an abbreviation of marketing technology, refers to all the software, platforms, and tools that brands and agencies use to streamline, automate, and analyze the marketing they conduct. Stack procurement is the process of finding and implementing that collection of tools and technologies to aid and deliver on a brand’s needs and goals. 

Ansa Leighton

In short, martech stack procurement allows brands to consolidate their data across numerous platforms and touch points, delivering increased visibility over time.

These days few things epitomize the ‘can’t live with it, can’t live without it’ adage the way that data does. In the digital age, data is the lifeblood of successful marketing. Where once we had information readily available with a host of potential ways to reach desired audiences, we now, thanks to the deprecation of third-party cookies, need to rethink our approach to capturing, analyzing, and storing data. 

Some view this as an ‘easier said than done’ feat and choose to outsource their marketing tech stack procurement rather than pivot their strategy to incorporate data consolidation. This leads to the loss of important proprietary data and less thoughtful and lasting customer outreach. Through our partnership,  Part and Sum and Incubeta have realized that it’s time for brands to license their own data processing software directly from tech vendors while providing access to their partner agencies.

Why? By acquiring your own tech-stack you ensure data ownership, regardless of what the  future holds. And without the need to build capabilities in-house, you retain the specialist perspective of an agency partner. 

The Role of Agencies in Martech and the Evolving Landscape

There are several ways that agencies help brands make sense of their data variations. An agency provides you with recommendations based on the patterns and trends found while sifting through your numbers. This macro-perspective is invaluable for integrating data sets across source types – be it social media, CRM systems, or website analytics. They all matter. 

Put simply, data is a language and an agency can help you speak it. 

An often forgotten benefit of agency support is a fluency in data built over years of trial and error. This practice hones the ability to translate your facts and figures into something you can understand and effectuate. For example, the dashboard that reunites all your data needs to be attuned to the metrics you actually need. Data glut can be as bad as data dearth and a trusted partner will be invaluable in designing a dashboard that is responsive to the insights that have been surfaced and reflective of the KPIs that allow you to measure progress on goals. 

Identifying and implementing the most effective tech is a multi-step process. First, a brand’s needs are assessed – similar to a yearly physical. The agency will come in and analyze your current processes and pre existing technologies to determine where efficiencies can be made. Based on those needs, the appropriate technology is researched and scoped for its features, pricing, and compatibility with what you already have. 

When it comes to selecting a vendor, it’s crucial to ensure that you’re getting value for your investment by pairing with an organization that can explicitly match your needs. In addition to a vendor’s track record and reputation, there are several factors to consider. You want to make sure the vendor can integrate into your existing tech ecosystem seamlessly. Further, data processing agreements should be in place to guarantee adequate measures are being taken to protect your data. And finally, don’t overlook their talent and commitment to customer success – the best vendors actively support their clients through unexpected technical challenges. By looking at past collaborations, you can gain a sense of how they work and avoid headaches down the road.

Once a brand has a tech stack in place, and a suitable vendor has been chosen, you can begin mapping out your implementation strategy. At this stage ask yourself the following questions. What’s the timeline you’re working with? Are there milestones you need to hit? What specific tasks will ensure a smooth transition? With those answers you can build out a data blueprint, highlighting the changes you’re trying to make, the schedule for reviewing progress, and any findings from user testing relevant to your mapping. 

Even though we’re dealing with technology here, creating a tech stack that works optimally for your brand isn’t an exact science – it requires iteration and the discipline to make that iteration productive. Outlining the specific data points needed to solve business challenges will allow you to combat inadequate, incompatible, and insufficient data. 

Brands and marketers will continue to see an increase in their data-gaps, hence the need to break down the data-silos that currently exist across different business units, business partners, and technology stacks with a requirement to invest in first party data.

Google Martech Solution

One of the more popular martech solutions is the Google Marketing Platform (GMP). Integrating harmoniously with other Google products, GMP allows brands to consolidate data across all Google tools, connecting the different touch points across a user journey.  

Having your programmatic platform, ad server, and search management platform, connected with your measurement and analytics tools ensures data fidelity and transparency – a priceless benefit as we enter the cookie-less era. Whether you go with Google or not, the most important thing to remember is that the technology you’re leveraging has to work in concert to achieve the best results. 

As the need for first party data grows, so does the demand for technology that allows for data aggregation, and de-duplicated measurement of investment performance. With the more recent upgrade of Google Analytics 4, Google martech is designed to deliver deep customer insights in a privacy-first age and brands should take advantage of this opportunity. Combining their marketing, web / app data, with that of their off-line data, (sales & customer) brands can make the best use of Google’s AI technology that analyzes real-time user behavior, history, and external signals (like weather) to improve marketing performance and provide insightful user insights. 

Customer Segmentation

Another area particularly impacted by data consolidation is customer segmentation. The comprehensive nature of the data that’s being consolidated results in more accurate and meaningful customer segments. Having an understanding rooted in actual behaviors and preferences makes it easier to shape your products and experiences with a greater responsiveness to the people who use them everyday. 

Setting up an integration requires identifying the systems that you intend to bring together and the data that needs to be shared between them in order for that to happen without a hitch. A/B and multivariate testing are just two options for pressure-proofing the integrations you go with. Say you want to dig deeper into the relationship between your CRM and the platform you use for email marketing, you can run a test that measures the impact of personalized email campaigns.

Being able to just rinse and repeat requires regular maintenance though. Whether that’s updating integrations to match the speed of technological progress or running tests that ensure the data flow between systems is steady, agency partners are your answer to avoiding the inevitable hurdles. 

The Benefits of Leveraging a Modern Approach

There are multiple benefits to leveraging a modern approach and partnering up. Agencies can help brands vet potential vendors, run and test integrations, and provide ongoing tech stack support. This level of consideration is what you need to ensure maximum performance, allowing you to maintain control over your data while leveraging agency expertise to drive better results. 

Incubeta and Part and Sum are working together in partnership with brands who seek to keep control, transparency, and ownership of their data, but need the deep expertise of consultants to deliver on a holistic customer-centric marketing strategy that guarantees business growth.

This collaborative approach in providing technology, guided by best practice use and the facilitation of innovation (like testing the latest product features) allows for the marketing consultancy to focus on their area of expertise; providing strong strategic guidance around data and media activation. Clients benefit from such a partnership, where there is full disclosure, transparency, and control to utilize the different specialties as the business need arises, knowing that their partner-ecosystem is working towards the same goal; an integrated, customer-centric marketing strategy.

A good example of how this has worked was a recent partnership with Cengage, a leading provider of higher education course materials. Incubeta contributed consulting services for the onboarding of the client’s CM360 license, working with Part and Sum to deliver a comprehensive measurement strategy. Supporting the enablement of teams to make use of best practices and governance to set a sound foundation for the client’s immediate and future success.

Lindsay Magoon, Cengage’s Director of Student Experience Marketing, explained of the collaboration, “I’m thrilled to have spring (our low period) outperform fall (our high period) and with less budget. Really happy with the performance, it shows how you optimize PoP and drive incredible results. I love that we’re getting smarter and smarter each semester.”

We have seen the opposite where clients have a fragmented partner ecosystem, outsourcing ad-technology to those buying the media which results in paying for technology through hidden mark-ups, not having a truthful source for reporting, and not owning their data. This siloed, non-integrated approach to marketing strategy results in high cost, poor media performance, and a loss of data as the partner-ecosystem evolves. 

By owning and processing their own data, brands can unlock the insights needed to shape future campaigns and long term growth around the real consumer. Not to mention, in the age of data breaches, you don’t want to be caught on the wrong end of a leak. Your customer’s data is precious – act like it! 

In the current economic climate, consolidated data can help you remain agile during a time when speed and flexibility can save you much-needed money. By focusing on the right products and categories for growth, you can make sure you’re targeting the right audiences with messaging that resonates with their state of mind. 

Part and Sum and Incubeta have both witnessed the impact of thoughtful tech stacks on organizations looking to grow by harnessing the power of their own data. 

Consolidation is essential in the digital age, enabling more accurate and meaningful customer segmentation, increased data visibility, and most importantly, transparency. And the best way to consolidate your data is by coming together with those who can build a martech stack that fits the unique shape of your brand and business. Ultimately, your tech and agency partners will help you vet potential vendors, run and test integrations, and provide ongoing support that you can trust and rely on. Ready to take control of your data and transform your marketing efforts? Partner with Part and Sum and Incubeta to build a martech stack that drives growth and generates real value. 

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