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  • Jason Lucey

Part 2: Building Integrated Marketing Datasets

An integrated marketing dataset is a collection of data from various marketing channels that is consolidated and analyzed to give insights into the performance of marketing strategies. It helps marketers understand and predict the market behavior and preferences of their customers and potential customers. These datasets can include data such as customer demographics, purchase history, web analytics, social media engagement, email campaigns, advertising impressions, etc.

The previous article focused on why integrated datasets are necessary for dashboards and how an integrated marketing dataset can help marketers measure the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns and optimize their budget allocation across different channels. Some of the benefits to remember are:

  • Track the effectiveness of marketing campaigns

  • Identify trends in customer behavior

  • Improve customer targeting

  • Optimize media mix

  • Make better decisions about marketing budgets

  • Increase sales

Three Core Questions for Building an Integrated Marketing Dataset

In principle, building an integrated marketing dataset is not complicated. New tools and technology make the work easier and more cost-effective than ever. However, it still requires expertise and planning. Key to this planning is your marketing measurement strategy. This document should identify the data requirements and data sources that are needed.

Once these basics are decided, you can begin assembling the components needed to build an integrated marketing data set. Just like the diagram above there are three main questions that need to be asked:

  1. What data sources need to be collected? This can be a combination of export files API connections and direct query methods. There are many technologies and techniques that can make this happen. What is right for you will depend on the data you are trying to access and what the constraints are.

  2. Where to store the data? This can be either on-prem or in the cloud and may be a mix of owned and rented technologies. Data ownership issues may apply here, as well as regulatory requirements for industries such as Healthcare and Financial Services. Although data can be moved, it is best to think long-term with data storage.

  3. How to make the data accessible and to whom? This usually requires some type of BI tool such as Tableau or Power BI or can even be as simple as Excel. A key decision point is whether or not dashboards are needed. Data analysts frequently don't need dashboards because they do so many manipulations that working directly with the data itself is most helpful to them. However, if you have managers or senior staff that need frequent updates on performance, then a dashboard could be a good idea for them.

When thinking through these aspects it's important to recognize the complexity of the situation to know what kind of solution makes the most sense for you. While most of this will we'll start to come clear in their measurement strategy process, there are a couple of points to keep in mind.

Outsource or In-House?

Many internal IT teams are very capable at building data technology. There may also be regulatory and/or contractual reasons why internal teams may be the best choice for your organization. However, there are some important reasons to consider using a third party. Here are a few of the most common:

  • Cost savings. Outsourcing can save you money in a number of ways. First, you can avoid the cost of hiring and training in-house staff. Second, you can take advantage of economies of scale. Third, you can benefit from the expertise of a team of experienced professionals.

  • Access to marketing-specific expertise. Outsourcing providers have expertise in marketing data capture and modeling. This can help you to create datasets that are focused on marketing's unique needs and based on best practices from experience gained across industries.

  • Focus on your core business. By outsourcing the building of your marketing database, you can free up your internal resources to focus on your core business. This can help you to improve your bottom line and grow your business.

Solution Architecture Options for Integrated Datasets

At DATACRAFT, we've grouped our approach into three main architectures that can be used to meet the needs of clients—whether they have simple needs or more complicated scenarios.

Our Tier One architecture is the simplest setup and makes use primarily of export files that are stored either locally or in the cloud and manipulated with a BI tool. Something like Power BI is a good candidate for this because it has strong ETL capabilities, but any modern data business tool can work for this. This is also useful if one-time data pulls will be sufficient because the reporting is not recurring.

Our Tier Two architecture improves the setup by enabling marketing API connections. This opens the door to automated recurring reporting which can feed dashboards. It also opens the door to a wider range of data sources and more robust data manipulations. It does require more storage and setup, but this solution is a great starting place for marketing organizations looking to gain the insights and benefits of an integrated data set.

Our Tier Three solution is an enterprise-class total marketing reporting solution that can scale and is widely extensible to almost any data source. This can even include unstructured data and machine learning integrations. When built with cloud technologies, data throughput can be very strong. There is no need to upgrade from this type of architecture because it is inherently flexible and meant to scale.

Building an integrated marketing dataset can be a complex task, but it is worth the effort. By collecting and analyzing data from all of your marketing channels, you can gain a better understanding of your customers and improve the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

Uncovering actionable insights is the whole point of these solutions. Don't lose sight of that! By understanding your customers' behaviors and the current effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, you can create more targeted marketing campaigns that are more likely to resonate with your target audience in the future. This can be a critical component to help tell the story of how marketing is driving true business impact.


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