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How to overcome data silos and fragmentation

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How to overcome data silos and fragmentation


The sheer amount of customer data available to brands almost makes fragmentation inevitable. Even when using a CDP or DMP, marketers need robust solutions and strategies to overcome these issues.

“Each touchpoint is storing data about your customer about that customer journey,” said Ganesh Subramanian, Director of Product Marketing at Snowflake, at our MarTech conference. “That’s adding value to that customer journey, but each new SaaS technology that you’re leveraging along that journey is creating a new silo of data.”

He added, “We’re optimizing the customer journey in a micro sense, but each new optimization is creating a macro problem of a new siloed source of data that we need to bring together to get a holistic understanding of our customers.”

data silo illustration
Image: Snowflake

With so many data silos being created, marketers need to find ways to connect them all. That’s how data-driven marketers ensure their campaigns and targeting are effective and accurate.

Fragmented data has multiple root causes

“You have all these different disparate sources of data, and they’re hard to understand,” Subramanian said. “How do you attribute a dollar of marketing spend across channels?”

Fragmentation can occur for several reasons — it could be due to too much data in the pipeline, unstructured sets of data, or siloed data.

fragmented customer data
Image: Snowflake

Part of the issue lies in the data collection platforms themselves and their issues with data unification. “That data foundation that you’re trying to leverage wasn’t built for that purpose,” says Subramanian.

Organized, connected data is necessary to gain any actionable insights and avoid waste. But some of the difficulty lies in extracting information from an ever-changing data foundation.

The evolution of a data foundation

“Many organizations start by looking for data to answer questions,” said Subramanian. “For instance, finding out how each channel contributes to the pipeline. A talented analyst might pull that data from paid media and email and tie that to marketing, automation, and CRM.”

But marketers will find themselves overwhelmed if their data foundation grows to be too large. The disparate pieces — paid media, social, marketing automation, reporting, and more — further silo that much-needed information and make attribution more difficult.

illustration of the evolution of data foundations
Image: Snowflake

“All of a sudden this tech architecture is getting complex,” he said. “Then you bring in survey data, customer service, and finance data, and all of sudden this data foundation looks less like a strategy and more like a poor analyst in the backroom connecting the wires.”

He added, “This is where most organizations are. They have built some sort of tech architecture to solve a bunch of questions over time and it’s time to reassess.”

Positive marketing industry tailwinds

“The good news is that we do have many strong tailwinds,” said Subramanian. “There are some things that are coming up behind us that are helping organizations transform faster and more effectively now more than ever before.”

Here are some of the important factors working in marketers’ favor.

  • Top marketers are becoming data-savvy;
  • Marketing and IT are fostering closer partnerships; and
  • Technology is catching up to (and passing) business needs.

It’s clear that the more marketing and technology teams work together to address these data fragmentation issues, the better-prepared brands will be for the future. Subramanian believes one of the best ways to begin this work using a marketing data cloud.

Leveraging a marketing data cloud

“The data cloud was purpose-built for this problem like this,” Subramanian said. “It is the next evolution of how data is being leveraged across organizations. Being able to store all your data in one place and leverage it without managing complex pipelines and many copies of data — this is the promise of the data cloud.”

marketing data cloud
Image: Snowflake

Subramanian shared an illustration of his own organization’s marketing cloud (shown above), which connects many organizations and their data in a central hub. In this ecosystem, companies can share data about customers, finances, suppliers, partners, COVID-19, and other business units.

“It could be an agency sharing data back to a brand about the results of a current campaign,” he said. “It could also be a SaaS vendor that you’re using in your customer journey, and rather than having to pipe data back and forth to your CRM, you’re opening a data share between that fast technology snowflake and the rest of your marketing ecosystem.”

He added, “So the data cloud is very much alive in data sharing, and it’s being leveraged today. Marketers are no longer having to think about all those workarounds and those data marts that organizations had to build to overcome those silos in prior eras.”

Watch the rest of this presentation at the MarTech conference here (free registration required).

About The Author

Corey Patterson is an Editor for MarTech and Search Engine Land. With a background in SEO, content marketing, and journalism, he covers SEO and PPC to help marketers improve their campaigns.



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ActionIQ rebrands and launches CX Hub

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ActionIQ rebrands and launches CX Hub


Enterprise customer data platform ActionIQ has announced the launch of a new product, CX Hub. The company has also rebranded as AIQ. The CX Hub is designed as a set of modules offering self-service access to customer data, allowing users to build audiences and orchestrate experiences at scale.

After eight years of growth as a CDP serving B2C, media and other sectors, the changes represent a “new approach to our product and brand,” said CEO and co-founder Tasso Argyros in a release. The modular framework will ingest data from any source, integrate with any activation channel, and also allow components to be used with a third-party CDP.

The modules. CX Hub is comprised of four solutions:

  • Customer data platform.
  • Audience center.
  • Journey management.
  • Real-time CX.

The Hub is also designed to be accessible to business users with a friendly UI and extensive automation capabilities.


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Why we care. This is a significant development in the CDP space — a space that has been transforming rapidly, with many of the early established CDPs being acquired and ingested by more extensive suites such as digital experience platforms.

ActionIQ, one of the leading B2C CDPs, is now describing itself as “the leading CX solution.” It seems to be future-proofing itself by extending its capabilities across orchestration and execution channels, not by acquiring or building those solutions, but by seeking to provide modular integration between its (or a third-party’s) customer data management tool and orchestration and execution channels.

Sometimes we wonder how many independent, traditional CDPs will be left standing a year from now.

Read next: Deep changes in the CDP space


About The Author

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space.

He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020.

Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.



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Old Navy to drop NFTs in July 4th promo update

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Old Navy to drop NFTs in July 4th promo update


Old Navy will update its yearly Fourth of July promotions by saluting the metaverse with an NFT drop, going live June 29.

In honor of the year they were founded, the retailer will release 1,994 common NFTs, each selling for $0.94. The NFTs will feature the iconic Magic the Dog and t include a promo code for customers to claim an Old Navy t-shirt at Old Navy locations or online.

“This launch is Old Navy’s first activation in web3 or with NFTs,” an Old Navy spokesperson told MarTech. “As a brand rooted in democratization and inclusivity, it was essential that we provide access and education for all with the launch of our first NFT collection. We want all our customers, whether they have experience with web3, to be able to learn and participate in this activation.”

Accessible and user-friendly. Any customer can participate by visiting a page off of Old Navy’s home site, where they’ll find step-by-step instructions.

There will also be an auction for a unique one-of-one NFT. All proceeds for the NFT and shirt sales go to Old Navy’s longtime charitable partner, Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Additionally, 10% of NFT resales on the secondary market will also go to Boys & Girls Clubs.

Support. This activation is supported by Sweet, who’s played a major role in campaigns for other early NFT adopters like Burger King.

The Old Navy NFTs will be minted on the Tezos blockchain, known for its low carbon footprint.

“This is Old Navy’s first time playing in the web3 space, and we are using the launch of our first NFT collection to test and learn,” said Old Navy’s spokesperson. “We’re excited to enable our customers with a new way to engage with our iconic brand and hero offerings and look forward to exploring additional consumer activations in web3 in the future.”

Read next: 4 key strategies for NFT brand launches

Why we care. Macy’s also announced an NFT promotion timed to their fireworks show. This one will award one of 10,000 NFTs to those who join their Discord server.

Old Navy, in contrast, is keeping customers closer to their owned channels, and not funneling customers to Discord. Old Navy consumers who don’t have an NFT wallet can sign up through Sweet to purchase and bid on NFTs.

While Macy’s has done previous web3 promotions, this is Old Navy’s first. They’ve aligned a charity partner, brand tradition and concern for the environment with a solid first crack at crypto.


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About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.



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Are you still using spreadsheets to manage your work? Take our poll

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Are you still using spreadsheets to manage your work? Take our poll


Earlier this year, revenue orchestration platform LeanData released a report suggesting that lead management remains a “heavily manual” process. Based on a survey of more than 1,700 sales, marketing and operations professionals, the results showed that, despite all the talk of digital transformation, the number two challenge for revenue teams was too many manual processes and not enough automation (the number one challenge was insufficient pipeline).

LeanData, which partnered with Sales Hacker, Outreach and Heinz Marketing in conducting the survey, is interested in that result, of course, because lead management is precisely the process they offer to automate. We were struck by the contrast with Scott Brinker’s recent statement that we are arriving at a post-digital-transformation era: “(C)ompanies are no longer planning to become ‘digital.’ They are digital.”

And then we got the results of our 2022 MarTech Career and Salary Survey. Among the surprising nuggets to be mined from our findings was that 77% of respondents identify spreadsheets as the tool they spend most time (10 or more hours a week) working with. That doesn’t mean that spreadsheets are a marketer’s most important tool, but it does suggest that manual processes remain a key part of daily life for marketing managers and staff.

We wanted to extend the opportunity to all our readers — B2B, B2C, agencies — to give us a reality check on spreadsheet use. MarTech is marketing, we like to say, and certainly today’s marketing is fundamentally data-driven and digital. But is it too soon to say that marketers are working in a digital and largely automated environment?

Download the 2022 MarTech Career and Salary Survey here


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About The Author

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space.

He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020.

Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.



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