By its very nature, omnichannel is more sophisticated than other types of marketing.
Omnichannel leverages multiple channels, and it unifies data for positive user experience and rigorous analytical review. Consequently, the requirements for omnichannel analytics are more sophisticated than for single-channel, siloed marketing initiatives or even multichannel marketing.
Omnichannel requires marketers to have a cohesive view of multiple data sources while giving diverse stakeholders answers to their key business questions. To achieve this goal, an analytics platform must meet these three requirements for omnichannel campaigns:
- Integrate data at a technical level after ingesting it from diverse sources
- Serve as the single source of truth (SSOT) at an operational and business level
- Present data visually so it can deliver insights and be acted upon by a range of stakeholders from data analysts to business executives.
Integrate Data from Diverse Sources
Robust views of performance data are vital as omnichannel expands its reach into demand gen campaigns, which speak directly to core business goals of pipeline and revenue. In so doing, demand gen introduces additional data sources and metrics to track vs. omnichannel campaigns that previously focused primarily on awareness.
The complexity of today’s martech stacks is best embodied by the widely referenced Marketing Technology Landscape, with 5,000+ tools available to manage various aspects of marketing campaigns.
To effectively manage data from a plethora of potential sources, the analytics system must perform two key functions: ingest data from those diverse sources and then integrate that data technically in compliance with a brand’s data governance practices.
Top martech data sources that typically must be supported include Salesforce, Marketo, Eloqua, Hubspot, Pardot, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, On24, and Adobe. The optimal scenario is a direct integration (typically via API) from the key systems into your analytics tool of choice. If a strategic data source isn’t currently supported by your platform, your supplier should have that data source on its technical roadmap.
Once the data has been ingested, the second key element is integration, which more directly speaks to data integrity, quality, and the ability to make data actionable. Integration entails normalizing data fields, validating data for accuracy and compliance with internal governance, and prepping data for analysis.
Robust integration provides visibility across channels, campaigns, business goals, and other key elements of your marketing strategy.
Serve as the SSOT
Anyone who has spent time in a marketing organization in the past decade may roll their eyes at the ‘single source of truth’ moniker. The fact it’s often referenced but rarely realized doesn’t diminish its value. SSOT is one of the most important objectives for an analytics platform. Just ask any data analyst or business exec who struggles to reconcile data contained in the many spreadsheets that get passed around day in and day out.
The data integration described in the preceding section makes an SSOT possible. But you may be wondering: are there any actual examples where one system truly meets the lofty standard of that term?
In our experience, SSOT is reality. One fine example is Integrate’s platform (disclosure: Integrate is a HIPB2B business partner) for managing demand gen and other types of campaigns. We can say, from experience, that Integrate’s platform comes as close as any we’ve seen to providing this level of insight.
Our early omnichannel demand gen efforts, for example, require uniting data from LinkedIn ads and email campaigns. Integrate’s platform has been an invaluable resource in our efforts to stitch together data in SSOT fashion. It gives us cross-channel visibility and buyer insights that we need to optimize the performance of our campaigns and ensure we are meeting our customers’ requirements.
There are other great candidates to serve as an SSOT in your business. We view Microsoft PowerBI as a platform that can function as an SSOT (as well as a strong visual presentation system). In our use of PowerBI, it effectively depicts our most strategic business data in ways that can provide critical, timely views for decision making. It allows us to make business decisions with the confidence our data is being rigorously managed and governed.
A couple of business considerations come into play when building out your SSOT: 1) Do your brand’s stakeholders agree on the designation of one system as your SSOT? and 2) Can that SSOT, therefore, be extended to your omnichannel campaigns? If you can answer yes to these questions, then you have met the high bar for an SSOT.
Visual Views are an Essential Addition To an SSOT
For many data analysts and business executives, the most widely accepted analytics tool is Excel, the old workhorse that probably doesn’t get the respect it deserves. Despite its enduring value, Excel doesn’t have the integration or visual data presentation capabilities that omnichannel marketing demands.
As detailed above, a true SSOT should shield users from the complexity of diverse data inputs to give an insightful view of data that spans departments, campaigns, time periods, and more. But in and of itself, an SSOT doesn’t have an interface that assists a variety of business users (from specialists to the C-suite) in understanding and acting on data.
Visual cuts of data are the standard in sophisticated marketing organizations and they’re a critical building block in communicating business results so that business leaders understand the impact, and value, of omnichannel marketing.
When it comes to omnichannel-class visualization, we see these as beneficial features:
- Prebuilt visualizations into which analysts can plug their data to enable actionable views quickly and the flexibility to build custom reports
- Artificial intelligence (AI) to facilitate predictive insights
- Presentation layers that facilitate drilling in from exec-level views to deep dives – customizable for the required level of insight
- Support for display on diverse platforms including mobile
- Data available in real time
- Ability to embed charts in web pages, social posts, and more
Once your analytics system meets the requirements of highly functional integration, SSOT designation, and a robust visual presentation layer, you will be well positioned to deliver the analytics insights to ensure success at omnichannel marketing.