Phil Rist, Propser Insights & Analytics, Headshot

In 2024, as the world only becomes more digitized, effective data management is the key to success in marketing. In Episode 24 of the Business to Human podcast, Prosper Insights & Analytics’ EVP of Strategy, Phil Rist, breaks down new research on the struggles that marketing executives face in harnessing the power of data and analytics. He also discusses solutions to these challenges.

Additionally, Alexa Bennett, Content Marketing Manager, and Matthew Tilley, Vice President of Growth Marketing at Vericast, highlight NXTDRIVE™ software by Vericast as the essential solution that marketers need to tackle the challenges ahead.

The research: marketing executives and first-party data

To gain insight on how marketing executives think about, use and plan for first-party data, Vericast and Prosper teamed up.

Prosper conducted a study, fielded in August 2023, which surveyed 280 marketing executives at or above management level, through an online research B2B panel.

Each respondent was a final decision maker or part of their organization’s first-party data strategy team. The annual revenues of each organization ranged from $300 million to $3 billion.

“The results showed that marketers certainly have a lot of customer data but they have challenges getting valuable insights from it and integrating it from disparate systems,” Rist says. “They have challenges applying the data for improved marketing performance.”

Specifically, the data showed a high percentage of marketing executives face the following challenges:

  • 44% grapple with high costs associated with maintaining multiple systems that address different needs
  • 43% face difficulties in updating and maintaining data stored across multiple systems
  • 35% say managing disparate systems is a drain on their employees
  • Another 35% say they lack the internal personnel with the expertise to manage disparate systems

“Bottom line is, they’d be open for a complete solution from a single provider,” says Rist.

Overcoming the tug-of-war between disparate systems and personnel strains

First-party data differs from other data marketers are used to working with — it comes straight from consumers, and humans can be unpredictable and complicated.

This is to say that humans don’t follow a yes/no, shipped/unshipped, or delivered/undelivered binary. They have complex messages, goals and desires.

A lot of marketers believe they’re doing the best they can with the resources they have available but also know they must keep improving to keep up with the rapid changes in privacy laws and the phasing out of third-party of cookies.

In fact, 33% of marketing executives said that improving their first-party data strategy was a priority for 2024.

How marketing executives plan to overcome the challenges they face:

  • 39% are taking measures to ensure first-party data is up-to-date and accurate
  • 37% are taking action to find an easier system
  • 34% are taking initiatives to use predictive analytics to analyze historical data and predict future outcomes
  • 34% already had actions underway to use first-party data to measure campaign performance

Advice for marketers looking to engage customers and foster loyal buyers

Wrestling with the value and implementation costs of first-party data can be decidedly overwhelming.

Rist offers one key piece of advice — get to know customers as human beings.

“It’s a mindset,” Rist says. “It’s getting in the frame of mind that no matter if you’re a retailer, or a restaurant owner, your core business is to make your customers happy. You benefit financially by pleasing your customers.”

Get to know your customers as people rather than resources to be mined. Understand how you can better serve them through analyzing the data.

Better yet, utilize zero-party data — communications directly with consumers — to get a better understanding of them.

“For so long, marketers have relied upon cookies as a quick and easy fix; but clicks and swipes are only proxies for real people,” says Rist.

Additional data begs for a single complete solution

Additional data was gathered on marketing executives’ opinions regarding current types of data net software and systems they were using—

  • 73% of executives felt most solutions do not deliver effective media across their combination of print and digital channels
  • 75% said the solutions they were using required more time from their team instead of less
  • 66% said most solutions deliver far more capabilities than they need as a mid-tier retailer
  • Another 66% said most of the solutions require long integration periods which create stress for their internal resources
  • 61% indicated that most solutions are underutilized due to skill gaps of their team members

Again, this data begs for a single, comprehensive solution. Having multiple answers to one big question only creates frustration.

NXTDRIVE: Vericast’s solution to the marketer’s data dilemma

Marketers encounter significant obstacles in maximizing the value of their data, from simply managing its storage to deriving actionable insights from it.

NXTDRIVE is specifically designed to transform data into action, enabling marketers to not only harness their data but to also implement it effectively.

But what does NXTDRIVE do?

“The easiest way to look at it is like an equation,” Bennett says. “You’ve got your zero-party data and first-party data which both come from the businesses. With NXTDRIVE, you’re able to combine that with some of our CAS third-party data — that we help sort and segment to really empower your own data — to create strategies, execute for deployment and tie it all back to that management and campaign analysis. It all comes to fruition in knowing what works and what doesn’t so that you can repeat it or change it,” she added.

Matthew Tilley emphasizes the marketers’ expressed need for a comprehensive solution to their challenges, as opposed to dealing with numerous individual point solutions. “Given such a clear desire from the marketers we surveyed, one of the things I want to make sure people hear loud and clear from us is that this idea is exactly what NXTDRIVE is intended to solve for,” says Tilley.

NXTDRIVE serves as a single platform where all consumer data converges, providing insights into consumer behavior and enabling activation through email, direct mail, display advertising, or the most effective channels for data engagement.

Want to learn more about first-party data management and analytics or hear more advice for marketers on overcoming current challenges? Listen on Apple Music, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.