For the last several years, Scott Brinker, editor of the Chief Marketing Technologist blog, has documented the number and types of solutions that occupy the marketing technology (martech) landscape. His list started with a mere 150 vendors in 2011 to more than 7,000 in nearly 50 unique categories in 2019. Scott went the extra mile by having them all captured on a helpful, if a bit crowded, single page infographic.
I’m sure you’ll recognize many of the categories, if not the vendors, and have probably deployed several of these in your own organizations. Investing in all 50 would be a serious financial and logistical challenge, so many companies opt instead to focus on what I refer to as the “Magnificent 7”: CRM, MAP, CMS, Content Marketing, Email Marketing, ABM, and Marketing Analytics. The common thread amongst these is that they are heavy users, consumers, and sources of customer data. Despite this, maintenance of customer data is still largely an ad hoc activity.
SeriousDecisions, a leading B2B research and advisory firm in its Research Brief entitled, “The Pulse: The State of Contact Data Management,” reported that only 20% of organizations had a comprehensive data integration and quality strategy. Even then, this is largely a cumbersome, laborious process that is just as likely to introduce new errors as it is to correct existing ones. Furthermore, if these systems are integrated, bad data introduced in one system quickly infects the others.
So, what’s missing from your martech stack? Companies need a quick, reliable, “set it and forget it” technology that seamlessly integrates with other components of the stack to help correct bad or missing data. Known as a Contact Data Management (CDM) system, it programmatically and routinely inspects a contact database looking for and correcting malformed or incomplete records. It is also capable of enriching existing data and adding net-new records.
Since most of the stack components rely on quality data to deliver reliable results, investing in a CDM system is a must. It keeps your data fresh and clean and does so without significant labor costs. As you look toward your 2020 technology budgeting, be sure to add a contact data management system to your shopping list. Your stakeholders and customers will thank you.