How to Break Down Data Silos That Are Hurting Your Marketing Efforts

Written by Madeline Hester
Published on Jul. 08, 2020
How to Break Down Data Silos That Are Hurting Your Marketing Efforts
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For marketing teams, click-thru rates, buyer conversion ratios and user engagement statistics are just a handful of data-driven ways to tell a client that their ad is working and their brand is selling. 

Gathering that information across internal and external specialty teams can prove quite difficult, however, since data is often siloed across departments. Jaclyn Griffin, an associate director at international media agency MediaCom, said data silos can lead to a lack of visibility and limit key decision-makers’ ability to identify data-driven opportunities.

Marketing teams, therefore, have to create primary data hub as central sources of truth for data analysis, insight and optimization. This hub pulls information from all other departments and organizes data in order to standardize performance indicators across all media channels and functions, generating a constant flow of holistic insight across teams and disciplines. The process is like trying to assemble a legible book when every page is in a different language.

To combat this challenge, Griffin relies on clear cross-departmental communication, procedural guidelines and ad tech resources to optimize data and give clients a complete picture of their customers. 


Jaclyn Griffin
Associate Director • MediaCom

What steps have you taken to break down data silos in your organization, particularly as it relates to your marketing efforts? 

As an agency, we are constantly faced with the issue of aggregating data across internal and external specialty teams. This is a critical barrier to break, as data silos can lead to lack of visibility, limiting key decision-makers’ ability to efficiently assess performance and identify data-driven opportunities necessary to grow their business.  

In order to break down data silos in our organization, it was critical that we establish a primary data hub as our central source of truth for data analysis, insight and optimization. Our goal was to collect and feed data into a single platform, allowing us to aggregate and standardize performance indicators across all media channels and functions. As a result, a constant flow of holistic insight across teams and disciplines was produced.

That said, the fundamental problem with data silos stems from the sheer volume of data with different classifications and definitions for the same data elements, all living in separate systems, which leads to inconsistency and poor data quality.

The key to normalizing the multitude of data sources and definitions is instituting procedures and clear compliance guidelines across the agency. This starts with the development of a connected measurement framework. The purpose of a measurement framework is to provide comprehensive guidelines to teams for measurement strategy, planning and execution. It outlines business objectives, available data sources, key metrics and aggregated views for quality decision-making.

Accomplishing the development of a connected measurement framework requires not only ongoing internal data governance but also constant cross-functional communications with the different media investment teams. Furthermore, our framework needs to align strategically to meet our client’s core business objectives, requiring continued collaboration with key client stakeholders.

It was critical that we establish a primary data hub as our central source of truth.”

What software or tech tools are you using to better integrate your customer data? 

Integrating customer data across silos is a challenge that requires a sophisticated approach to aggregating the best available tools in the industry. The key is to vet all available ad tech resources and identify the resources and tools that best address specific business questions, rather than relying on a single source or methodology. By integrating multiple specialized tools, biases and silos can be broken down.

For example, in an effort to unify business data for a 360-degree view of the customer experience and business trends, we leverage a combination of ad tech to connect user front-end media engagement (first-party platform), user’s path and attribution data (third-party ad server), user behavior on site (web analytics), supplementary audience insight data points (CRM) and market trends.

Tracking capabilities continue to evolve, and this requires analytics strategies to move beyond simply reporting media engagement like clicks or landing page visits. These types of metrics do not take into account post-engagement activity, which is an essential component in understanding consumer interests and predicting behavior. Therefore, by tracking activity beyond the initial ad engagement, we can establish more valuable proxies for consumer behaviors that correlate with business objectives. 

Tell us about a big win you’ve experienced by breaking down data silos. 

Given the unique state of the 2020 media market and the need to understand and validate indirect revenue-driving channels, such as upper-funnel brand initiatives, our team recently vowed to provide our clients with a more holistic view of the consumer’s journey to purchase.

Primarily using our integrated third-party ad server, we were able to derive insights such as the users’ most common path to online purchase, the average time from first media touchpoint to final conversion and the average number of media touchpoints experienced in their path. By way of tracking all media in a centralized location, we were able to allow for this level of visibility and, as a result, we proved that the success of lower-funnel media requires strong upper-funnel reach.

Essentially, we justified the importance of upper-funnel investment based on the influence it had on users engaging downstream with the website and ultimately, their completion of an online purchase. By connecting the cross-channel media touchpoints, and layering on media attributed website behavior, we were able to showcase the revenue gains when a full-funnel strategy and audience-first approach is in place. 

With unified media mix and audience alignment at the forefront, we confirmed the power of full-funnel synergies. We demonstrated that a stronger ROI can be achieved by planning media around our customer profiles.  

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images via listed companies.

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