Extracting, Transforming and Activating Data Takes Skill

Modern marketing campaigns produce vast amounts of data. This data is valuable only after it is transformed into actionable insight. For years marketers and business leaders have chased promises that software could replace the time and labor needed to produce these insights. Despite their availability and adoption professionals say they struggle to tell the right story with data. Why? Simple. This task requires skilled and experienced workers who exist in small numbers. Software alone is not the solution.

For over a decade now I have watched as CEOs, CMOs, agency owners and hopeful marketers on the front line have forwarded the latest emails from software vendors promising, “Hours saved and ROI increased!” I have spent hours listening to marketers from around the country struggling to stay on top of their data. Many dream that the promise is real. That a single solution will come along to extract, transform, analyze and present all of their disparate data in clear, concise and impactful ways that require almost no effort. I personally dream about winning the lottery and living on a beach. I have spent a great deal of time studying this data problem and unfortunately also understand the statistics behind the lottery so I can safely guarantee both dreams are going unfulfilled.

It’s true that some of these software solutions can lighten the heavy load handled by marketing intelligence. Products like Supermetrics, Tableau, Google Data Studio, DOMO, Microsoft BI, and others assist in extracting and visualizing data. While they add a much-needed layer of simplification to the old standbys of Excel and SQL Server, skilled analysts are needed to turn that raw data into insight. Despite some claims to the contrary software won’t do that for us.

These tools often provide templated reports touted with the premise that anyone in an organization can login, pull a report and find meaning. I’ve watched companies adopt these tools believing this hype. After large investments in time, money and training, the hope is lost. The moment they need to stray from the template, the cavalry who actually understands how to call the right functions, make the calculated fields, and write complex SQL statements needed for exploratory analysis are called in.

Transforming data into insight isn’t easy. Those capable of doing it aren’t replaceable cogs. Modern marketing intelligence demands a mix of experienced marketers, programmers, data analysts, and effective communicators. Rarely are all of those pieces embodied in just one individual or found waiting to be tapped in another department.

I believe corporations and agencies should respond to the demands of big data by investing in savvy technologists, programmers and analysts. These are people who understand software provides tools that can be harnessed but is not, in and of itself, the solution.

 

Struggling to understand the story your data is telling? Let’s talk about how we can harness, transform, and analyze your marketing data in order to create actionable marketing intelligence. Fill out the form below or give us a call – 585.249.1100.