Digital Transformation: When is the Status Quo Not Good Enough?

For far too long digital marketers and teams have used and relied on Excel to coordinate on marketing initiatives.  While Excel is a staple in any organization for sharing data, it can create some challenges as the primary tool used by teams to create the necessary information to launch campaigns.  In the current environment with COVID-19, and everyone working remotely, the need for better alignment and coordination across teams is even more crucial.

As is the case in many times we all become very accustomed to how things are being done and don’t question the status quo until there is a reason to.  At Claravine, we provide a solution to do just that and allow teams an alternative to what they have done for 15+ years.

Even five years ago, the number of solutions in a given marketing channel wasn’t nearly as complex as it is today.  Many teams could still manage the process of creating tracking codes, managing naming conventions, and copying and pasting this information into their execution platforms of choice.  If you ask most digital marketers about a time when something went wrong with one of their campaigns it is likely they can respond immediately with the campaign and what went wrong.  What went wrong can range from the wrong tracking code to no tracking code to sending a consumer to a page that either didn’t exist or the marketing and analytics tags were not working.

Much like how working from home has become the new normal, this level of error has become the normal for marketing organizations.  Agencies tell their clients they are not able to track upwards of 20% of media either due to invalid tracking or in some cases a campaign goes live with 0 ability to understand performance due to no tracking in place.  Since many teams understand the complexities of digital marketing and there is no way to go back and replay consumer behavior we accept this and move on while hoping it doesn’t happen again.

Digital Transformation Choice

What are some anecdotes we hear today that we shouldn’t be hearing in 2020:

“My excel macros must not be working”

Many teams are using macros and concatenation logic in excel to build out landing page URLs and macros needed for a specific execution platform.  Those macros and link structures get very complex.  Imagine a situation where you have one click-through link and it needs to redirect for a mobile app that requires different tracking to get the user to the right device.  Do you need to URL encode the entire link or just the redirect link?  Who is responsible for updating the macro and maintaining it over time?  What happens when there is dynamic creative in the mix and you need to make sure everything is set up right?

“I thought I set up the tracking code.”

Too often everything seems to be working when someone goes through to QA the setup but for one reason or another when the campaign goes live the tracking code is either missing or not in the right format.  Setting up a search campaign in Google even has a variety of ad formats, different ways to configure landing page templates, and a number of different ad settings.  Notice the “past tense” in this example.  If you’re saying this, you’ve already wasted precious marketing and/or advertising budget.

“The marketing tags were working when I tested the page.”

The interdependence of systems and teams across the digital marketing landscape continues to grow with analytics, optimization platforms, DMPs, CDPs, and the list goes on.  Each of these systems has its own requirements and everything must be aligned for the moment a consumer clicks on a link and those systems to automate the next message.  If at any point something is missing or not in the right format, any automation stops functioning and you might miss the opportunity to put the right message in front of your customer while you have their attention.

“The taxonomy is not my concern.”

Everyone is in this together from internal marketing teams, creative teams, analysts, and agencies.  Aligning everyone involved in creating the experiences you are presenting to your customers should be the most important aspect of marketing.  However, since it is hard to get teams to align, everyone defaulting to the basics is often good enough.  Without a platform in place to allow the standards to be communicated it is sometimes hard to aspire to a world where everyone is using the same taxonomy as they are launching digital experiences.

“We don’t have a system in place to enforce our standards.”

While Excel is an amazing tool for so many use cases it can be difficult to use and there is really no way to manage changes to taxonomy, URL structures, or have a central way to connect the data to the rest of your organization.  There are many systems out there for URL building but that is only the tip of the iceberg.  If you are concerned about your brand and the data driving business decisions you need a way to allow teams to operate, adhere to your standards, and understand when something goes awry in your data flow.

At Claravine we are helping our customers tackle many of the problems covered above and we believe that we shouldn’t still be having the same conversations and questions we were 10 years ago.  As digital marketers find themselves evaluating their marketing investments from technology to media spend, there is no time like the present to think about your data strategy, data governance, and create a new normal.  We are happy to help in that process as there is no easy button.

About the Author

Chris Comstock is Claravine’s Chief Product Officer and has more than 15 years in the digital marketing and data management fields – working as a consultant, brand and product leader for a variety of top companies. He now heads Claravine’s product vision. 

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