Five Data Improvements Every CMO Needs to MakeBy AJ Wilcox

Though marketers have more data to draw on than ever, only quality reporting can ensure that information is used wisely.

By now, it is routine for even the smallest companies to gather, collate, and analyze vast amounts of marketing data.

From customer details to departmental feeds, this data is increasingly plentiful and easy to access for chief marketing officers (CMOs).

At the same time, it only unlocks opportunity for skilled data managers.

Without a strong vision and organization of data, managers can’t use it to improve their marketing strategies.

Here are five improvements CMOs can make for better reporting and data handling.

1. Make Data Accessible

Companies are complex organizations featuring people with diverse personalities and abilities.

Because analytics are increasingly relevant for all departments, it is important to process marketing data into forms that are easy to digest.

According to a recent study of marketing experts, Domo found that 66 percent of marketers would consume and use more data to improve their marketing efforts if they could see it all in one place.

Fortunately, leading data applications are now more user-friendly than ever before. You’ll want a customizable business dashboard, visible to all parties from one centrally located place, and able to make specific reports to each department within your company.

When data specific to each department of the company is accessible to everyone, the opportunity for discovering current and future trends significantly increases. But until your marketing data is organized and available, it can’t be used to improve your marketing strategy.

2. Prioritize Real-Time Analysis

Real-time analysis is key to a marketing executive’s performance.

If marketing reports are even slightly out-of-date, forecasting and planning future marketing strategies can be misguided.

In the same survey of marketing experts, Domo found 40 percent of those surveyed said they would consume more marketing data if they could see it in real time.

Today, real-time solutions are powerful and sophisticated enough to meet the needs of the smallest or largest businesses. When choosing between big data tools, people naturally gravitate towards applications with strong real-time functionality. Real-time data allows CMOs to improve their reports and forecasts with up-to-date information.

3. Putting Data in the Right Hands

Oftentimes, organizations can more efficiently unlock problems with data that is effectively organized and explained. Marketers hold important knowledge at all levels of the organizational chart. Without a data scientist who can interpret and segment the data into digestible and usable chunks, big data will not be as effective as it could be.

Of course, if you have the right analytical tools to break data down, making data useful can be easier. That’s why getting data to one centralized location is also a vital step for a data scientist or marketing team to be successful.

Our research found that only five percent of surveyed marketers were able to view their marketing data sources in one dashboard–this in spite of the fact that 89 percent of the respondents agreed on the importance of a central dashboard.

4. Take Advantage of Mobile Devices

With the proliferation of cell phones and tablets, more and more people are connected around the clock. Even if the up front investment is appreciable, it is nearly always worth upgrading to a mobile-friendly system.

CMOs are often using their phones and tablets to access data on the go, in meetings, and in other places.

Investing in a mobile reporting infrastructure for your data can further your ability to use necessary marketing data everywhere you go.

5. Use Predictive Analysis to Open New Markets

Forward-thinking CMOs use predictive analysis to monitor changes in consumer needs. Predictive data can open up new avenues of product optimization and refinement.

Experienced CMOs appoint task leaders to specifically manage predictive analytics. Big data opens doors to the “what ifs” of the future.

Instead of merely looking at last month’s report, CMOs can now look to the future and predict what customers will want, when they will want it, and why.

Although predictive analysis of big data is not a guarantee, it increases the likelihood of success the first time you employ a marketing strategy.

That is a tool marketers haven’t had in the past.

At times, the path to reporting improvements can seem long and difficult. Real challenges may block the way temporarily.

For the CMO who plans on success, it is increasingly clear big data is the catalyst for a new generation of marketing visionaries.

AJ Wilcox

AJ Wilcox works with the marketing team at Domo, a business intelligence software startup in American Fork, Utah. He loves cars, drumming, and spending time with his wife and kids.

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