Customer journeys. Omnichannel interactions. Programmatic. Personalisation. The buzzwords of digital marketing fly around corporate meeting rooms, C-suites, conference calls, and webinars these days, often at dizzying velocity. But while just about every company talks the digital talk, relatively few walk an actual data-driven digital walk. The promise of digital marketing is great, but the practice is extremely hard.
Many issues contribute to the difficulty, starting with technical ones. Most marketers are not mathematicians, much less data scientists. They don’t have technology in place to collect and use data, and they don’t know how to ensure that the technology they do have is properly wired together and capable of measuring impact (online and offline), preferably by demonstrating causality. The organizational challenges are just as daunting. Agile is easier to talk about than to implement. Cross-functional collaboration does not come readily to most organizations. Digital marketing involves new ways of working, and these ways affect every staff member personally, from job description to office location to compensation. People and organizations tend to resist this kind of change, especially when it impacts their own future.