A successful small business data management plan requires a sensible balance between data, insight and energy
Without the aid of a crystal ball or psychic abilities, it’s difficult to tell exactly what will happen in the future. But as someone who lives in the world of data, you can see trends.
1. Faster access to new tools and approaches.
Just as buyer behavior is changing, so is your business’ ability to react. Thanks to cloud-based services, laptops, mobile phones, all you need to set up a company and launch a new idea in the marketplace is speed. IT departments were once needed to establish security, storage, networks, bandwidth, applications—these are all available instantly in the cloud today. Business marketers will find it easier than ever to take advantage of market opportunity.
2. Big picture automation.
Not just marketing automation, or sales force automation. We are headed to an era of systematically running all the selling functions of a business as an integrated whole, with processes automated and running on their own, predicts Joe Caserta of Caserta Concepts, a consultancy in NY that works with a lot of big data, especially in the financial services industry. Bernice Grossman, of DMRS Group, Inc., echoes the point. “The technology around B2B sales and marketing will morph into a streamlined integrated system, which will include the marketing database, with lead management, email, mobile and social, across the customer relationship. As a result, the silos between sales and marketing will become a non-issue.”
3. A simpler technology picture.
Most marketing technologies claim to make marketer’s lives simpler. But at this point, marketing technology has become dizzying in its complexity. In the future, says Nitin Julka, product manager at LinkedIn, more and more of the complexity of running marketing campaigns is going to be automated, in a simpler way, so that marketers can focus on what truly matters—their target audiences, buyer’s journeys, and messaging.
4. Complexity moves to the cloud.
One of the ways to make the technology picture less complex is to banish it all to the cloud. Today and increasingly in the future, cloud vendors are providing marketing capabilities. Thus, marketers can concentrate on marketing, and let the cloud vendor manage all the intricacies of database management, system updates, storage and other activities once only provided by internal IT organizations.
5. A sensible ballance between data, insight and energy
“You can have all kinds of customer data, and still not understand how to communicate persuasively with customers and prospects,” notes Howard K. Sewell, president of Spear Marketing Group. “Software and analytics can’t tell you the what and the why. We need to respect and harness what the data tells us, but also put it in its place.”
Take a few words of advice from these experts and remember that technology is designed to help us do our jobs – not be our jobs.
“B2B Data-Driven Marketing: Sources, Uses, Results” by Ruth Stevens and Theresa Kushner
About the author
Theresa Kushner is a journalist-turned-marketer and Vice President of Enterprise Information Management at VMware. She is responsible for master data management, business intelligence and advanced analytics. She and Maria Villar co-write a column for LatinBusinessToday.com. They are co-authors of Managing Your Business Data: From Chaos to Confidence, published by Racom Books in 2008.