As a marketer and Jersey kid, every time I tell people "I'm from Jersey" I generally get two responses - "I'm sorry" or the classic - "Which exit?". Being honest, I find the first one hilarious and the second one truthful. When I think of the customer journey, the corresponding siloes of data are just like the NJ Turnpike. Want to find out about operations? Take exit 14B for Jersey City. For finance, take exit 16E for the Lincoln Tunnel and you don't want to go to digital security, exit 1 Delaware (sorry Delaware).
Recently I presented at the Gartner Digital Marketing event with one of our great customers, Staples, and the subject of data silos got me thinking. Conversion after conversion, presentation after presentation, I heard about data sitting in disparate systems that marketers need to use. According to Forbes, "The average company invests in 16 separate marketing technology platforms." As a result, companies that are trying to improve personalization need these systems and data to be integrated in order to be really useful.
As a matter of fact, Gartner states, "We predict that through 2020, silos of customer engagement will be one of the top three leading causes of customer dissatisfaction for enterprises across all industry segments." I think marketers are seeing too many roads and exits with not enough bridges as significant roadblocks for companies trying to transform their customers' digital experience.
The solution involves marketing and IT. Historically, these functional areas have had some friction because of speed, security and standard approach requirements. But, they all know the CEO has growth at top of mind. Integration and APIs can serve as brdiges to make sure your systems are connected in real time. Any solution you bring into your IT/Martech ecosystem must have the ability to integrate easily. But beware, there are many grifters out there (remember I'm from NJ). Many of these solutions will show prebuilt integrations but only have a fewll well-built APIs. Also, many teams forget or don't set aside enough budget for outside services to help get these solutions to "talk" to each other. When considering a solution investment, make sure you choose one that as the ability scale and connect into Martech solution. Keep in mind, according to Martech advisers there are now over 5,000 solutions - so no one company can do it all with pre-built APIs.
Organizational silos are as much of a cultural issue as they are as they are a systems-oriented one. Traditional organizations moving from a digital approach usually have a more difficult time making the transition. In the short-term, there is no way to break down both the data and cultural siloes. It is a long-term effort and one that has to focus on building the solution integrations, consolidating the data, and enabling collaboration in order to support the growth target. But as marketers, we know things are dynamic and that's why we are all Born to Run. (Sorry!!)