Data Disruption and the Silos That Remain

Much has been written about the disruption of the CMO role, which now requires data and technology expertise to enable a more holistic understanding of the customer journey in today’s connected world. The goal being to solve the data disconnect that exists across organizations. Yet, just below the executive level, the silos between data, technology and everything else remain.

The expertise around the collection, analysis and application of data often sits in a silo, separated from media activation, ad/marketing technology, creative and media measurement. In some cases, there are multiple disconnected data silos – a DMP, CDP, ad-server, DSP’s, CRM, etc. This data disconnect often results in wasted time, inefficient media decisions and missed opportunity costs – because of unavailable, misinterpreted or flawed data.

This challenge is not uncommon and it’s hardly surprising. The importance and availability of data has grown exponentially in the last few years, requiring a specialized team to harness and manage the data. The problem is that most organizations have not evolved to integrate this specialized team into the rest of the organization. While the business impact of that oversight is hard to immediately see, the impact is real:

Research firm Gartner has found that the average cost of poor data quality on businesses amounts to anywhere between $9.7 million and $14.2 million annually. At the macro level, bad data is estimated to cost the US more than $3 trillion per year. In other words, bad data is bad for business.


The impact on media operations is also real. Data disconnects hinder a brand’s ability to extract valuable insights from consumer engagement through media or implement a sophisticated addressable advertising strategy – where the consumer is at the center and the approach is channel-less. This is a key area of focus as brand seek to future proof their business and make their media investments more effective and efficient. If the data team isn’t driving for the elimination of silos, the media team should be.

Data disconnects are being addressed by brands. But, it’s not an easy process. It’s not solved by a technology license. It’s not a simple application of data in a media campaign. The elimination of data disconnects requires:

  • Organizational Alignment: The support of key stakeholders and stakeholder groups is critical to the success of this organizational transformation which will require new processes and collaborative approaches.

  • Foundational Focus: Accurate measurement to gauge success requires a clean, organized and aligned foundation around taxonomy, KPI’s and test and learn agendas.

  • Communication Rigor: Creating clear communication plans around data activation is key to minimize overlap, avoid message saturation or conflict.

  • Data Governance: Establishing common rules for data use ensures data is applied in the most effective and valuable way for your brand, while ensuring universal application of current data policy requirements.

It will be an iterative process, and it’s important to recognize and accept that this will take time. As an interim step, many brands start by testing the approach. They target a specific audience, line of business or campaign to prove out the results of the approach and provide a proof of concept to support the recommendation to move forward.

With Acxiom, we’ve introduced the Acxiom Addressable Advertising practice. This new capability, powered by Matterkind and operated within Acxiom, connects data and activation – providing full visibility from audience to activation to measurement, with data governance throughout and a faster data and media feedback loop in flight.

This is one example of how we’re working to eliminate the data disconnect in practice. Marketers should consider how they’ll address their own data discrepancies in 2020 and beyond.