Why you need to centralize your marketing data

Published Mar 24 2023 Last updated Mar 24 2023 5 minute read
Contributors
  • Sean Dougherty
    Written by Sean Dougherty

    A copywriter at Funnel, Sean has more than 15 years of experience working in branding and advertising (both agency and client side). He's also a professional voice actor.

Modern day digital marketers have to contend with loads of challenges. One of the most daunting obstacles is trying to make sense of your performance data across the ever growing list of marketing platforms. 

In fact, there are currently more than 9,932 marketing tools on the market right now. 

To make matters worse, many of those platforms name and treat performance data in their own unique way. Trying to make sense of it all can make your head spin.

That is unless, of course, you centralize your marketing data. 

 

What is centralized data

Before we examine centralized data in a marketing context, let's think about the concept on a business-wide scale. The concept of centralized data includes the collection, storage, and management of data in a single, central location or database.

The main benefit of this approach to data collection and management allows a business to exert more control over the data. This means more consistency, improved security, easier maintenance, and cross-functional applications for said data. 

However, it does have its drawbacks on an organization-wide scale. While many teams may contribute to, and want to work with the data, a centralized data approach for an entire business can lead to bottlenecks forming. Also, organizations with a large volume of raw data will need more robust infrastructure to support a centralized approach.

For marketing teams, though, centralized data can unlock their true potential. 

 

What does it mean to centralize marketing data?

Data centralization is the practice of collecting all of your marketing data and consolidating it to one place. From this singular location, your data can be organized, analyzed, and shared with stakeholders. 

When you centralize your marketing data, you can break down the silos that can prevent you from gaining a true view of your performance. 

How so? 

Let’s say you work at an agency that runs ads for one client across Google Ads, Facebook, and TikTok as part of a larger marketing campaign. Each platform will provide you with data analytics tools to review your ads’ performance on each of the platforms individually. But that leaves you to calculate the performance of your ad campaign on a holistic level. 

Each platform will also claim its own conversion rate and how much traffic the ads on their own platform have driven to your client’s website. The catch: those ads often don’t add up to the website traffic numbers in Google Analytics 4. 

So who are you supposed to believe? Should you trust one of the ad platforms, GA4, or maybe your own gut?

 

A single source of truth

In order to have trustworthy data, you’ll need to centralize that data, creating a single source of truth that you can then work from. That single source of truth can vary from business to business and from agency to agency. 

Some agencies prefer to house their data in a CRM, others may build their own proprietary tools, and others may instead rely on a marketing data hub. The benefit of a marketing data hub is that it’s specifically built to centralize your marketing, sales and website data and create that single source of truth. It helps you to connect all of your data, easily organize it, store it, and share it anywhere you need. 

But let’s take a step back and examine the main benefits of the centralized marketing data model.

 

Benefits of centralizing your marketing data 

We’ve already touched on a few examples like creating a single source of truth, but there are a few ways that centralizing data can benefit digital marketers in particular. 

1. Democratize data access

Let’s think back to our agency example. You’ve successfully brought all of your client’s digital ad data into your single source of truth. This hub can now serve as a sort of staging ground for other marketing data, too. You may also want to integrate web analytics data, email marketing metrics, and SEO data into the mix for a more holistic view of your client’s total marketing campaign performance. 

Beyond gaining a better perspective, this also makes it easier to work cross-functionally with the rest of the team. Having all of your client’s raw data in one place allows everyone to work more effectively. 

2. Removing reporting silos

When everyone on the team is able to access the same data, you’re able to create more cohesion across your various reports and dashboards. The SEO team can utilize and reference ad data to confirm conversions while you rely on GA4 data to also ensure that your traffic figures are correct. 

The result is a more robust and comprehensive reporting structure. This also helps your client place more trust in your team by knowing that you’re looking at the bigger picture (just like the client) rather than your immediate remit. 

3. Unlock new insights by bringing the data together

Let’s get on to one of the juicier benefits you’ll experience once you centralize your marketing data: better insights. We’re talking about return on ad spend, for instance. In other words, how effective is each dollar spent on advertising contributing to your sales objectives. 

Calculating ROAS requires you to compute ratios across every aspect of your advertising. If your data remains siloed in each individual ad platform, this task quickly becomes a mammoth undertaking. Especially if you are advertising in many marketing channels.

 

Centralize your data with a marketing data hub

As we alluded to earlier, one of the most powerful ways to create your single source of truth is with a marketing data hub. <Cough> Funnel <cough>. 

Seriously, though, the four elements of a marketing data hub can make a huge difference to marketers and agencies who need to focus on driving results with speed. So, let’s break down those elements.

Connect

In theory, you could download .csv files from every marketing platform containing your performance data and upload it to some kind of spreadsheet. That’s going to take a long time, though. It’s also prone to loads of human error, which leads to bad reporting, bad insights, and unhappy clients. 

Wouldn't it be better to instead connect all of your raw data with just a few clicks? Yeah, we think so, too. Piping your data into your single source of truth is only the first element of a marketing data hub, though. You still need to organize it. 

Organize

We’ve already covered how traffic metrics often don’t line up across all of those marketing platforms, but that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Each of these platforms also label and format their data differently. Just think of geographic data — a user’s country, for instance. It could be formatted as Sweden, SWE, Sverige, or a thousand other options. 

A marketing data hub allows you to apply transformations across all of your data at once, which makes visualization and analysis so much more effective. These transformations remove duplicates and double counting. And while some hubs might make you apply these transformations through complex code, you just need a couple clicks to apply the same transformation in Funnel. That’s right, no code needed. 

Store

Often overlooked, but incredibly valuable, the storage element can get marketers out of seemingly tight jams. Take the UA-to-GA4 transition. You can actually stitch your UA and GA4 data together to allow for historical data analysis across the two analytics platforms. A simple data pipe can’t do that for you. 

Share

Let’s be honest, a marketing data hub can’t be perfect in every way, in every situation. Take data visualization for example. Tools like Looker and Looker Studio are built for this purpose and offer loads of customizable options to help tell your data’s story. However, a marketing data hub can effortlessly share your data with those visualization tools. Actually, a data hub can and should share your organized data to any end destination you want. 

This may mean sharing data with a data warehouse, data lake, BI tools, and more. 

 

Centralize your marketing data and you’ll never look back

Once you’ve centralized your marketing data, an entire new world of opportunity opens up to you. Think back to our hypothetical agency. We were using examples for just a single client. Now multiply that against an entire client roster and multiple marketing campaigns. The differences are night and day. 

It’s not just about reporting and analysis, either. With a single source of truth and a marketing data hub, you can start exploring even more powerful strategies like marketing mix modeling. It all starts with making the effort to centralize your marketing data. 

And with a solution Funnel, you can make it happen in a matter of clicks. It couldn’t be easier.

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