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With increasingly powerful technology, marketers now have the potential to rely on data instead of gut feelings—but not all of them are taking full advantage of it. Account-based marketing technology provider Agent3 recently released results from a study analyzing marketers’ core data challenges, and found that 77% of them are drowning in data, unable to identify actionable insights. Clive Armitage, Agent3’s CEO, spoke with eMarketer’s Maria Minsker and shared his advice for choosing tools that mitigate the data struggle.
eMarketer: Can you share some highlights from your study on marketers’ data challenges?
Clive Armitage: Marketers are challenged by data deluge. There’s too much out there, and they’re struggling to find what’s actually meaningful for them. Based on our study, only one in five marketers relies more on data than on their own personal insights. This is a problem. They have to get to point where they can trust data to drive campaign decisions.
eMarketer: What are the biggest challenges marketers face when it comes to choosing data technology?
Armitage: The first challenge is straightforward: It’s the sheer complexity of adopting new technology. There are now so many parties marketers need to consult before investing in a tool, including the IT department, the customer service department and the CRM [customer relationship management] team.
The second challenge is understanding the ratio of time to value. There’s a lot of innovation happening in the market, but you don’t need a Ferrari to go around the corner for some milk. In other words, some solutions are just too sophisticated for the problem at hand, so it’s not worth spending time figuring them out.
And finally, the third challenge is the unpredictability of solutions. This ties back to innovation, because so many tools that organizations deploy are brand new. They’re novel, but that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily going to work wonders. Companies want proven solutions, but instead they have to take a risk on something new.
eMarketer: What advice do you have for marketers for choosing the right tools?
Armitage: The marketing technology landscape is overwhelming. There are many data technologies that collect different types of data, but having too many tools generating data sets puts pressure on marketers—they have to tie all those data sets together to generate insights. Rather than collecting more data, marketers need to identify the questions they’re trying to answer. Are they trying to understand intent? Or are they looking for predictive models? Those objectives require different tools.
eMarketer: We’ve been talking about the importance of data and technology, but is there still room for intuition in marketing?
Armitage: Yes. If we get to a world where marketing is only about data, then marketers will leave the industry. The creative process should be enhanced by data, not replaced by it. But it’s easier to be creative with a deep understanding of the audience, what is likely to resonate with them and what has worked in the past.
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