Will 2019 be the year where companies finally address their data issues head-on?

According to IMB’s newly released 2019 Marketing Trends, the “Director of Marketing Data” will become the hottest new role in the industry as companies continue to struggle with too many information, systems, and touch-points across the business.

Is it really that surprising though? Yes, the hype around “big data” has technically died down, but that’s almost always when the real struggle begins when it comes to innovation.

According to Forrester’s Sorry State of Digital Transformation In 2018, fear of technology currently keeps business leaders awake more than anything else, including the competition, economic factors, even political conditions.

But should that really be the case? Should we be spending all of this time and money on analyzing every last bit of data or do we just need to prioritize some practical, yet important investments in data-driven decision-making?

That just happens to bring us to this week’s topic.

Brand Tracking Vs. Digital Transformation

Today I’m going to make a case why investing a little money in brand tracking in the year ahead will likely have the same impact as investing a lot of money in digital transformation. At least.. For most companies.

First, let’s start with the perceived upside of digital transformation. In a recent AdWeek article, Havas Media Group CEO and Adweek Advisory Board member Colin Kinsella busted three myths about marketing data and its transformative powers.

One, all data is equally valuable. Two, Owning your own data is better. And three, more data is better.

He says, “The reality is that around 60 percent of client media budgets get spent on data, as well as other elements such as technology, content, social, programmatic, etc., leaving only 40 percent of the budget to do 100 percent of the brand building.”

In our quest for more knowledge, many of us sacrifice way too many of our working dollars to pay for data that tells us the same thing over and over again.

At some point, it’s just not a good use of money. Kinsella added, “50 data sets aren’t better than the right five; there’s a distinctly diminished return on investment.”

Ok, so the takeaway here is that digital transformation can be expensive, redundant, and will almost always take away from working dollars.

Next, let’s talk about the upside of brand tracking.

Innosight Senior Partner Mark W. Johnson wrote in a recent Harvard Business Review article, “ A digital platform, or a digital solution, may enable a new epoch of transformative growth, but when you get under a company’s hood and look to see what’s really driving it, the engine of transformation turns out to be its business model.”

That’s super profound. It’s not our ability to enhance our technology or get more data per se, technology is really just an enabler for the real growth lever: your business model.

Brand tracking is often one of the first best investments an organization can make because it can measure the sum of our marketing efforts and an assessment of our collective business model, which Johnson says consists of four components.

  1. First, the customer value proposition, which is how the company helps customers get a job done.
  2. Second, the profit formula, which is how the company creates value while providing value to the consumer.
  3. Third and fourth, the resources and processes needed to deliver the value.

With a brand tracker, you ultimately can assess whether consumers perceive any value from your brand and what’s missing from the profit formula, resources, or processes that could be preventing the brand from becoming the market leader.

You’re not assessing the little things like impressions, eyeball movements, or pageviews. Instead, brand trackers give you one set of metrics arguably big enough to measure the entire business model and what you need to change about it.

You end up getting a holistic picture of how consumers view your brand and the competition without the investment that comes with integrating the different softwares in your marketing stack.

What will you invest in next year?

So there you go. You can spend 2019 trying to glue all your data together and spend your hard-working dollars trying to do it. Or you can prioritize improving your business model with the help of a little brand tracking.

What do you think? How much will your company be investing in digital transformation, connecting your various data sources, and brand tracking in the year to come?