4 March 2019

Why Using Too Many Data Management Tools is Bad for Strategy

Companies use an average of 7 separate tools to make sense of their data. 43% plan to add yet another one this year. Here's why that's bad for strategy.


Author Emily Alford


A few years back, it was impossible to sit though just about any webinar or conference panel without hearing the words “data-driven.”


Data was going to be the answer to all our biggest marketing problems, from sending better personalized emails to retargeting to social media, the list of woes more data would fix was pretty much endless.


And a few years later, we got what we asked for — data-driven insights from every corner of our interactions with customers.


But instead of making marketers laser-focused with clear, data-based strategies, many of us have become overwhelmed with insights, relying on many different, and often conflicting, data management tools.


Recently, Fospha partnered with ClickZ to take a closer look at the state of measurement, attribution, and data management. We surveyed 370 marketing professionals from both brand/client side businesses and marketing agencies.


The results reveal some pretty interesting insights into how an overwhelming amount of data may have become too much of a good thing.


Content produced in collaboration with Fospha.


Most companies are sitting on huge amounts of data


All our devices, accounts and apps are creating a massive amount of data — to the tune of 2.5 quintillion bytes of data a day.


The sheer volume is impressive, but all that data is basically meaningless if we can’t figure out ways to harness it.


And while 51% of the brands surveyed said they use technology to harness data, many are still struggling to make sense of all those insights.


In fact, 33% say that “data complexity” is their biggest challenge, which is probably why 64% of brands are only using about 40% of their data.


And adopting tool after tool to try and make sense of it


In an attempt to keep track of all that data, many brands are adopting tool after tool in order to gain actionable insights.


The study found that, on average, companies are using about seven separate tools in order to make sense of their data.


But with so many tools, it can be difficult to measure consistently, which makes data-driven strategies difficult to manage.


Just 7.8% of companies surveyed said that their brand’s approach to using third party data was “very effective,” while a full 20% said their brands where somewhat or very ineffective.


That ineffective use of third party data could be because departments are failing to communicate when it comes to deciding which metrics matter.


The survey found that only 17.5% of brands are actively using shared metrics for measuring the impact of marketing activities, although 29.2% say they’re “working on it.”


However, a full 21.4% of brands report that their companies simply doesn’t use shared metrics, though 18.2% admit, “No, but we should.”


Long-term solutions require more careful analysis


A 2018 report from Experian found that 89% of executives believe that poor data quality is undermining their ability to deliver exceptional customer experiences.


In order to streamline all that data, companies that are already using at least seven data management tools are overwhelmingly considering adding still more.


A whopping 43% of survey respondents say they will likely implement a new planning, measurement, or attribution tool in the next year. This could be a costly error that makes insights even more difficult.


Additionally, new tools may simply tell a brand what they already know. Or worse, they might contradict and confuse a brand’s goals and ideas.


Rather than spending more money on more tools, brands can and should unlock the potential of their current data by engaging with an independent data analysis platform.


The insights from such an analysis will better shape company decisions, creating data-based goals and motives. This is the next evolutionary step and provides a tangible improvement in decision making, similar to the boost provided by implementing an analytics package.


To read the full report


To find out more about how to streamline your data management strategy by using fewer tools, rather than adopting more, download the full report, “The State of Marketing Measurement, Attribution & Data Management.”