As the democratization of data trend unfolds, we asked our own Jeff Kew, Director of Global Marketing Operations, for his perspective on the evolving role of data and the latest trends impacting today’s Marketing Operations teams.

What’s your advice for managing Marketing Operations and virtual teams in these dynamic times?

For many of us, video meetings are the new normal and there is an abundance of video tool options deployed across organizations, such as Zoom, Webex, GoTo Meeting, Microsoft Teams, to name a few. For best practices, companies should adopt an IT driven consensus so team members understand which systems best support the business and more importantly, to ensure the tools have the necessary privacy and security safeguards. Now more than ever, companies are re-evaluating their tech stack spend and security needs.  As such, the ability to unify communications channels into a single secure system makes the most sense. For instance, Microsoft has reported an increase of 40% of users across their subscriber base. I’m not surprised since Teams can replace multiple video collaboration tools.

On a warmer note, many of us are juggling working and having children learning from home, so we can all appreciate the daily distractions during video meetings, such as the sound of children and pets in the background. In these unprecedented times, we’re all adapting to new ways of working – and it’s helpful to remember that we’re all in this together. By supporting each other, we can get through this and learn from the experience to become an even stronger team.

What do you consider to be the most importance piece of the Martech stack?

There’s a dizzying array of MarTech applications to keep up with as it’s spiked from just 150 in 2011 to now more than 7,000 applications.  In my Marketing Operations role, we need timely decision-making data to inform revenue influencing strategies. This requires having a simplified way to access fragmented data that resides on different platforms. More importantly, having aligned goals between sales and marketing teams is essential to achieve success, more so than the tools themselves. There is not one specific piece but an entire stack that’s necessary to gain a competitive edge and drive revenues.

What’s the biggest marketing operations data challenge?

With more cloud applications comes more and more data across disparate systems. This creates greater complexity for integrating different applications and tools. For many sales and marketing departments, what’s missing is getting a unified view of sales and marketing data, especially for reporting. Combining all the data about each customer and prospect into a data management platform or a data lake so it can be accessible from your analytics tool of choice is the holy grail for unlocking customer insights.

Enabling data access and connectivity from applications and sources including social (LinkedInFacebookTwitter), marketing automation (MarketoHubspot), CRM (Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite, Oracle) , eCommerce (ShopifyWooCommercePayPalSquare), survey data (Survey Monkey), and website (Google Analytics) is priority for many marketing departments. Today, this can be achieved by having the right data connectors.

How do you find the ideal customer profile?

In the past, sales and marketing organizations would rely on demographic data for targeting. Today, marketers have the ability to leverage intent data, which tracks online behavioral activity to better identify customers and what they are intending to do next. This has already been put in practice by B2C marketers. More recently, this has been catching on in B2B scenarios.

There are several ways intent data is sourced today. There is first-party data from user engagement with your own digital channels such as company website, emails, and social media engagement. Access to this kind of data on a large-scale can be a challenge. Another option that’s more freely available is third-party data generated by user engagement and searches on publisher websites. For intent data to be useful, you need to know the context of the user. For instance, is the user that’s signed up for your webinar a decision-maker and are they in the process of evaluating a related product?

How do you navigate privacy?

The rise in data privacy regulations is forcing sales and marketing departments to tackle related issues head-on, with a focus on opt-in tactics. Having intent data is so valuable especially for remarketing and retargeting. To that end, marketers must lean in to strategically leverage data to understand audiences and find the right channels to reach, engage and develop personalized one-to-one relationships through the likes of a target’s own social networks and connections.

For a deeper dive into the benefits of connected data for sales and marketing, download our eBook: Better Together: The Power of Connected Data