The Data-Centric Organization: Overcoming the Challenges We All Face

Eugene Geis May 1st, 2018
Marketing Insights

If you are in marketing today, you’ve likely seen first-hand how powerful data is for marketing. At Deluxe, we’ve had a first-row seat to the evolution of data-driven marketing. We’ve been helping financial institutions achieve superior ROI through omni-channel marketing solutions for years, and we’ve seen first-hand the impact data has had on marketing and financial institutions at large.

There isn’t an aspect of marketing today that isn’t influenced or impacted by data in some way. But, just a few short years ago, people were buzzing about “creepy” marketing tactics used by companies like Amazon and Target. These companies were collecting data on us and using it to recommend things we’d likely want or incent us to buy things they knew we were interested in. And where in the past those tactics could prompt a boycott or drop in revenue, today both consumers and companies have adopted these marketing tactics seemingly without qualms; including banks.

In today’s modern, data-driven world, banks have access to enough data now that they know which consumers are in the market for a new car and could present them with a pre-qualified lease or lending product before the consumer even knows what car they want to buy! With predictive and analytical data, a modern bank can know a good deal about its potential customers before they even walk through the door or enter their website.

But this all begs the question, how are banks evolving to support audience data usage through advertising, marketing, and audience engagement efforts? Leaving this wealth of data untouched would be a crime, but how can financial institutions fully utilize this powerful resource?

A Look Inside Data Usage Within a Modern Bank

A new report from Winterberry Group, The Data-Centric Organization, focuses on exploring this very topic. Winterberry surveyed advertisers, marketers, publishers, technology developers, and marketing service providers to get their thoughts on how they’re using, or planning to use, data. It was a follow-up to a similar survey they did in 2016, and the changes in the survey results might surprise you.

American companies, specifically marketers and publishers, spent more than $20 billion on third-party audience data last year, and are now focusing on using that data to achieve “data-centricity” across their organizations. What is data-centricity, exactly? It’s the extent to which an organization is culturally and operationally oriented to apply audience data as a source of actionable insight in support of advertising, marketing, and audience engagement.

The goal is to develop strategies that will drive significant near-term advances in how their organization engages with data. Put another way: “We’ve got a massive amount of audience data. How do we harness it?”

That is the question everyone seems to be asking. Some 90 percent of organizations surveyed by Winterberry say they have or are planning to develop an enterprise strategy to support the use of all this audience data. But here’s the rub: Less than 10 percent are where they want to be. They’re working on it, but aren’t there yet.

How Financial Organizations Can Become Data-Centric

With data being so readily available, why is it that less than the above stated 10 percent find themselves where they want to be when it comes to data-driven strategies? The biggest culprit is an industry-wide gap in talent. Simply put, there aren’t enough people with the analytic skills necessary for data modeling, segmentation, and attribution. So, if you’re an experienced data analyst, the world is your oyster right now. Everyone is looking for you.

The numbers are down. By a significant amount.

Is the Talent in Place?

In 2016, 5.2 percent of people said they were “extremely confident” their companies had people with the right experience, skills, and expertise to derive value from consumer data. This year that number dropped to 1 percent. Almost 90 percent of people surveyed said that data analytics is the competency their company needs most to advance their use of data in the current day and age.

Are you Getting Results From Your Current Marketing Strategies?

The majority of marketers are rolling out strategies to support data-centricity, but relatively few say they’ve generated results. Here again, the numbers have dropped dramatically. In 2016, almost 30 percent of people reported they had developed strategies for using the data in advertising or marketing, and that strategy was implemented and delivering results. This year, that number was only 12 percent. It dropped by more than half.

How Data-Centric Is Your Organization Today?

In 2016, 24.3 percent of people said their companies were extremely data-centric. This year, that figure fell to 9.8 percent. Again, dropping by more than half.

How Data-Centric Will You Be by 2019?

A full 44 percent expect to be extremely data-centric next year. Feels like a pretty big leap given that we took a step backward in 2017/2018.

What can we take away from that? The move to becoming more data-centric is more challenging than many thought it was. Marketers get overconfident that they can make that leap quickly but then find out when they get “there,” that they haven’t arrived yet. Getting the most value out of the massive amount of audience data at our disposal is like peeling an onion. It’s causing a lot of organizational change and new roles to be created on marketing teams which will help to accelerate our ability to become data-centric. The nature of audience data is one that is constantly evolving. Companies enforcing rigid structures with no room for change, are finding that to truly harness the power of audience data one needs to be agile and willing to bend.

How Financial Organizations Can Become Data-Centric Organizations With Deluxe

The effort to become data-centric continues to be a vital focus for American marketers, publishers, and other data users, but despite the proliferation of audience data, significant obstacles hinder companies from realizing the maximum value that can be derived from data.

Transforming companies into data-centric organizations takes time. As practitioners grow their awareness of data-centricity, it’s becoming more difficult to achieve.

The most significant challenge facing us today is how to find, develop, and nurture marketing and media professionals with the skills necessary to do the job, including predictive analytics, segmentation, and modeling.

Bottom line: It’s about your people, your technology, and oftentimes, your partners. You need the people with the skills and experience to wrangle the most value out of audience data. New platforms or technologies are necessary to handle data that support audience building and insight development. When you can’t (or don’t want to) assemble these things yourself, look for partners or outside providers who have the people, technology, and processes in place to support your needs! There is no shame in working with key partners who have expertise in this area; it will drive your business forward, and you can’t afford to be left behind.

To benefit from this data tsunami, a sea change within organizations is needed. That change is coming, but many are not there yet. But those who wish to start advancing their use of consumer data to become more data-centric need look no further than Deluxe. Offering full-service marketing services and turnkey solutions that encompass data, analytics, technology, and marketing execution, Deluxe takes pride in offering comprehensive digital services that will work to fulfill your short and long-term goals. With scalable, sophisticated data-driven online marketing strategies our team of industry experts will help your financial institution take full advantage of the sheer volume of data available in our new digital world.

To read more about the results of this research, download the report The Data-Centric Organization.

This content is accurate at the time of publication and may not be updated.