The amount of data businesses compile today can be overwhelming.
Marketing departments in particular often find themselves bogged down in customer data, competitor analyses, and voluminous market research.
While all of these are highly beneficial for creating a successful digital marketing strategy, they won’t do you any good if not manageable and easily accessible.
What you need, then, is a marketing information management system or process to help you take control, make sense of it all, and use it to your advantage.
While many businesses outsource management of marketing data, others are discovering the benefits of bringing it all in-house and creating a system that fits their specific goals and priorities.
If this describes your business, read on. Even if you haven’t yet considered creating your own in-house marketing information management system, it may be time to change your mind.
This guide will define marketing information management, how it can help your business succeed, the main obstacles or challenges to overcome, and tips on building your own successful marketing information management strategy.
What is Marketing Information Management?
Essentially, marketing information management is the compiling, organizing, storing, analyzing, and monitoring of valuable market research data, consisting of sales reports, past campaign results, marketing software analytics, competitor analyses, and more.
Once all this data is manageable, it can then be used to make important, informed decisions concerning your current and future projects, promotions, and business plans going forward.
Remarkably, marketing information management can also help guide your content marketing strategy and SEO efforts.
In other words, marketing information management is a way to gain control over your excessive yet essential data and put it to the best use possible.
How Does the Practice of Marketing Information Management Help Your Business?
As anyone can see, the amount of information pertaining to your sales and marketing efforts piles up quickly.
But what good is all that compiled data if you can’t use it to better your marketing strategy?
That’s where implementing an internal marketing information management system will benefit your business.
It will help you keep track of all your data in one place, saving both time and money.
Turning your system searchable will be beneficial as well, making it quick to find the data you need for a recently scheduled meeting or other business need.
Essentially, this practice of marketing information management will make your data easier to understand, which in the end will benefit both you and your customers.
Marketing information management can also provide your business with:
- Clearer demographics of your customers, leading to better buyer personas.
- Continual identification of your placement among the competition.
- Valuable insights you may miss without it.
- Increases in conversion rates and high-quality leads.
A well-thought-out marketing information management system can benefit your business by streamlining processes and workflows, and lead to:
- Identifying targeted audience preferences.
- Predicting buying cycles.
- Discovering new focus areas.
- Staying up to date on various industry trends.
- Monitoring your competition.
- Forecasting sales and growth potential.
- Justifying budget allocations.
- Ensuring compliance and security measures.
Overall, marketing information management will help businesses create more cohesive digital marketing strategies and also benefit other departments, including sales, customer service, product teams, and even executives.
Marketing Information Management: The Main Challenges
The challenges to implementing an efficient marketing information management system are many, yet each one can be overcome with focus and commitment.
Depending on your business type of particular industry, these challenges may include:
Identifying the Right Data Storage Solution
Databases for storing marketing research and data can become massive depositories, with duplications, errors in filing information, and many other issues, such as mistaken labeling.
Businesses will need to research the best data storage solutions for their needs and may need to try a few before committing fully to one.
Once identified, establishing a workflow for adding data, and even a coding system, will be beneficial from the start and can help you work through this challenge at a faster pace.
Implementing Security Measures
Determining which team members have access to the data is another challenge among businesses and can affect data security.
Implementing security measures to maintain the privacy of customers is also essential and involves balancing these privacy concerns with accessibility.
Determining Efficient Workflows
Initially, at least, determining efficient workflows will be a challenge, as with anything new involving several teams or individuals and vast amounts of information.
It will take input from all those involved to establish smooth workflows that will benefit everyone, and this can be a hurdle for many businesses.
Monitoring of Users
Those employees with access to the system will need to be accountable for following best practices, remaining compliant with security measures, and being consistent in the adding, deleting, or correcting of data.
This may require ongoing monitoring or tracking of user behavior.
Maintaining Clean Data
For optimal results of a marketing information management system, your business needs clean data to work with at all times.
This means you must face the challenge of keeping data up-to-date and void of duplication, redundancies, and errors.
How to Develop a Marketing Information Management Strategy
While how you go about managing your marketing information will vary based on business size and the amount of data you collect, there are common steps to take when building a marketing information strategy.
These include the following.
1. Establish the Purpose, Goals, and Priorities for Your Strategy
Start by defining what marketing information management is to your organization. To get to this definition, here are several questions to consider.
- What are your current uses for the various marketing data you collect?
- What problems or issues are you experiencing with data storage and accessibility?
- What types of reports will be beneficial to your marketing goals?
- What abilities or capabilities would you like to see in a marketing information management system?
- What is the available budget for a marketing information management system?
- How will you benefit overall from building such a strategy?
From there, establish measurable goals and priorities for your strategy.
2. Identify Which Data to Compile and Manage
It doesn’t take long to find yourself overwhelmed with data.
That’s why you start with establishing goals for your strategy. With these goals, you can determine the best types of data to help you accomplish them.
Such selected data may include target audience behavior, customer preferences, and leads.
Also, review key performance indicators (KPIs) for campaigns and factor them into your selection of the data to compile and manage.
3. Choose a Platform and Marketing Project Management Software
Choosing a platform to store and manage your marketing data comes next. Start by choosing a database, either by building one in-house or in the cloud.
A marketing project management software will also be beneficial. With it, your marketing team can:
- Gather and store information across marketing channels in one location.
- Track marketing campaign planning and success rates.
- Manage your marketing budgets.
- Distribute various marketing materials to teams.
- Integrate with third-party tools to execute your campaigns.
4. Inform All Team Members and Maintain Communications
No team member likes to be kept in the dark and surprised with new processes or systems. So, keep all relevant teams informed about the new strategy and its timeline.
Let each team know how this new strategy will impact them directly and what they can expect.
Include not only internal marketing teams but also sales, product design, and any other team who will benefit or be impacted by its implementation.
Train these teams in how to use the platform and software, including how to add data, access information for analysis, and run valuable reports.
Maintain communications throughout each phase of the strategy, and continue them once it is fully implemented.
5. Implement Your New Marketing Information Management Strategy
The time finally arrives for you to implement your new strategy, including the software migration.
Don’t rush this process, however. Accuracy is essential, so run test reports at various intervals and ensure those involved are fully trained in all aspects of the migration and what is expected.
Once in place, utilize your new system to its fullest capacity. Also, track activities and results to determine what is working efficiently and what needs to change.
Wrap Up: Take Back Control with Marketing Information Management
Whether you’re already feeling overwhelmed with the amount of marketing data you currently have, or just starting out, establishing a marketing information management system may seem daunting at first.
What such a management system can do for you and your business, however, far outweighs any initial apprehension.
Creating a solid strategy and finding the best tools to help you implement that strategy can lead to marketing success even beyond your own expectations.
To learn even more about data-driven marketing, download the Rock Content Magazine on the pillars of data-driven marketing!