Why marketing is overwhelmed by IT and big data

Sales Funnel and Big Data -StratoServeCompared to other functional areas like supply chain,finance or HR , marketing seems most overwhelmed by IT and big data. David Edelman of McKinsey  suggests how marketing and IT might co-ordinate and this blog had exhorted Ad agencies, marketing and IT to start embracing this huge data opportunity in an earlier post on the digital marketing logjam. However, the question remains as to why marketing seems to be getting most overwhelmed with big data compared to other organizational  functions. So here are some thoughts:

  • The sales funnel:A whole bunch of solutions keep getting thrown at the IT folks in organizations that should help with the front of the sales funnel. These include lead generation systems from mailing lists to the website and social media. IT folks dutifully inform the Marketing colleagues about the barrage of solutions. Meanwhile,Marketing has to cope with trying to prioritize various campaigns and also motivate sales colleagues to try out some of their suggestions. The sales folks are an entirely different group: where depending on compensation and rewards schemes, they might not even enter data at all- for the very real fear of losing out on commissions. Now IT might be suggesting a Sales Force Integrated solution that looks neat and actually integrates well with the rest of the ERP. However,it might have no relationship with the number of people in the marketing department who are fighting fires and the sales folks who are chasing targets with no mental band width to really get to understand the capabilities of the  latest software they are landed with.Forget about sophisticated data analytics, marketers don't seem to be checking out the possibilities of free Google Analytics data on the sales funnel as web analytics guru Avinash Kaushik suggests in his recent post
  • The CRM load is on marketing: Everyone is responsible for customers the CEO will tell her organization- but the workload of getting the data and doing something with it- falls squarely on marketing. Before social media and the internet  CRM only meant keeping track of the the kind of pizza your customer had ordered last time – if you were a pizza chain. Now you have to keep track of general social media like Facebook, Twitter and also anything that might specially  pertain to your industry like Yelp and Groupon/Living Social.

Now consider other functional area like Supply Chain which is central to this blog, and you can say the same thing about Finance and HR. Here is how:

  • Supply Chain: No one expects the supply chain manager to be checking out what suppliers are writing on their Facebook pages about the organization.
  • HR and Finance : HR might be interested in your social media presence before hiring you, but  no one really expects HR  to check out employee Facebook pages either. And Finance folks are similarly not held accountable for "feelings" of bankers and need to deal with more concrete type of metrics like credit ratings and interest rates.

In other words, marketing is the function that is most deluged with data and needs to urgently seek more organizational resources to be able to capture opportunity from this huge amount of prospect and customer data. Contact StratoServe.

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