Data-Driven Marketing: Maximizing Success through Go-to-Market Technology and Org Strategy

Raise a hand if you’ve heard the phrase, “We need to be data-driven”?

Keep it up if you have no idea how to actually put it into practice.

If that’s you, you’re not alone. While it’s no surprise that data has taken a front row seat in all areas of business, the words “data-driven” are nearing buzzword territory; it sounds like a good plan in theory, but can lack substance when it comes to putting it into practice.

Recently we published the first installment of our new series on the fundamentals of data-driven marketing. For part 2 of our series, we’ll provide an overview of the non-negotiables of empowering your go-to-market team to be data-driven, covering both your tech stack and personnel needs. Go-to-Market leaders will walk away feeling equipped to evaluate different tools and set up their team for success. 

Tech Stack Non-Negotiables 

There’s been an explosion of marketing technology in the past decade — while many have become integral parts of the modern marketer’s toolbox, the vast majority are probably not the right fit for your team. When implemented without putting great thought into how they fit into your greater go-to-market strategy, they can contribute to further information silos and noise.  

At the core of our non-negotiable tech stack lies the CRM, which serves as the foundation for a data-driven approach. When utilized effectively, the CRM becomes a valuable tool in your go-to-market arsenal. It empowers you to manage leads, track customer data, and monitor interactions comprehensively. By implementing the CRM in a well-thought-out manner, you can seamlessly share information across teams and departments, breaking down silos and fostering a cohesive customer experience. This strategic hub becomes instrumental in aligning your overall go-to-market strategy with other technologies in your stack. By leveraging the capabilities of the CRM, data-driven marketers have the power to deliver exceptional experiences at every touchpoint along the customer journey.

Your next on the list of ‘must haves’ is a Marketing Automation Platform (MAPs). MAPs unlock the potential to craft scalable and personalized customer journeys that would be unattainable through manual go-to-market endeavors. By harnessing the power of a sophisticated MAP, data-driven marketers can orchestrate seamless and targeted experiences, driving impactful results while maximizing their team’s productivity.

Your MAP should be set up so that it’s: 

  1. tracking your customers’ buying journey
  2. enabling omni channel orchestration and experiences for both your inbound and outbound nurture sequences.

Similar to how your sales, marketing, and customer success departments should be closely connected and aligned, so should your CRM and MAP. A CRM that’s tightly integrated with a MAP will provide your sales team with valuable insights and visibility into a prospect’s actions and journey. It’ll also provide your MAP with valuable insights into opportunity progression. 

Next in your technology arsenal is a Content Management System (CMS). The CMS empowers you to create and manage website content, even in the absence of extensive technical expertise or dedicated resources. While you may have a dedicated development team devoted to the upkeep on your website, a CMS gives marketing the ability to post content and updates without utilizing too many other resources. 

It’s important to remember, while you are building everything out, that your MAP and CMS are tightly integrated. This will help you ensure that the customer experience and personalization of your inbound sequence is aligned with that of your outbound nurture sequence. This will also be key for scaling things like web personalization and form prefill. 

In addition to the data-collecting tools mentioned earlier, implementing a centralized data warehouse is crucial to enable the measurement of things like multi-touch attribution, channel effectiveness, and return on marketing investment (ROMI). This centralized data warehouse serves as a powerful hub, consolidating various data sources in a controlled manner. It acts as a reliable “source of truth” when constructing comprehensive reports, ensuring the accuracy and integrity of data. By establishing a strong foundation with a centralized data warehouse, you can effectively harness your data for informed decision-making, gaining valuable insights into the effectiveness of different marketing channels and accurately measuring the return on your marketing investments.

Lastly, to complete your essential toolkit, you’ll need a data visualization tool like Tableau or Microsoft’s Power BI. These tools enable your team and other stakeholders to visually explore and comprehend your data, fostering a deeper understanding and facilitating interactive engagement. By transforming raw data into intuitive visuals, data visualization empowers you to draw valuable insights, make informed decisions, and communicate findings effectively to multiple stakeholder groups, such as operational teams and executive leadership. It amplifies the impact of your data, allowing you to derive actionable conclusions and leverage them to drive your business forward.

There’s so much further you can go with your stack (in theory, the sky’s the limit!). But before you go ahead and sign up for a demo of the newest and flashiest tech solution that promises to solve all of your problems, let’s not forget the golden rule, stated perfectly by Bill Gates: 

“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” 

It’s crucial to understand and optimize your funnel management process before adopting any technology. Having a well-established and efficient funnel management system ensures that technology integration aligns with your business goals and operations, making your processes more effective. By carefully evaluating your funnel management approach, identifying areas for improvement, and implementing strategic changes, you can create a strong foundation for technology implementation. Remember, while technology is valuable, it’s the solid framework of your funnel management that lays the groundwork for its successful use and helps you achieve better results.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Something we see at ANNUITAS too often with clients is that a company’s CRM, MAP, and CMS aren’t interconnected and working together. Or they may be connected, but not in the right way. The three should make up the core of your stack, but they’re completely siloed in way too many companies. 

Another mistake to avoid is using technology as a bandaid. A good tech solution can help mitigate part of a larger problem when evaluated and used properly, but it’s not going to fix the core issues in an organization. The marketing technology landscape is massive, and adding another technology to the stack will not always solve the problem. When it’s not fully integrated into your existing stack, it just becomes another subscription to pay for. 

When it comes to data, a common mistake is not setting the stage from a leadership perspective. When taking on a data-based project, leadership must make it clear that diving into current data and identifying gaps  is not intended to single out individuals or teams but to collectively improve the organization’s data practices. If you don’t lay the groundwork properly, teams can go off track and run into problems. That’s why it’s crucial to provide clear direction and get everyone on board. 

Another issue arises when you start building your data strategy, and the KPIs end up looking different than what you expected.  It can be quite surprising, and it might even create some mistrust among people who have been relying on their gut feelings to make decisions. But here’s the thing: seeing negative data is just as crucial as positive data. It helps us identify problems and make necessary adjustments to get back on track. 

This is where leadership’s involvement is crucial. They need to set the stage and let everyone know that it’s perfectly fine to discover areas that are underperforming. In fact, it’s a crucial part of making progress and moving forward. We shouldn’t dwell on the negatives but instead use them as valuable insights to improve. By creating a culture where finding weaknesses is seen as an opportunity for growth, we can foster a more effective and data-driven approach.

Remember, it’s all about embracing the surprises, learning from them, and using the data to make informed decisions. That’s how we can continuously improve and drive the organization forward.

Finally, optimization is not just a one-time task but part of a larger cultural shift. Building reports is great, but if they just sit there without any discussions or actions based on the findings, progress will come to a halt. It’s a top-down effort that requires regular data reviews, open conversations, and a willingness to make changes, adapt, and avoid stagnation. 

Organizational Structure

More importantly than the tech solutions you purchase are the humans behind the screens holding everything together. What type of personnel should you hire to support you in your efforts to make data-driven decisions? 

While there isn’t a single, unified title that covers demand technology needs, you may see it couched in the role descriptions for everything including: Marketing Ops Manager/Director, Marketing Automation Manager/Director, Marketing Technology Manager/Director, Marketing Technologist, Marketing Automation Administrator, Email Marketing Manager/Director (but remember, your marketing shouldn’t just stop at email!), and so on! 

However, what is essential is a person (or persons) is knowledgeable in using the components of your technology stack and is knowledgeable and comfortable with your data. 

Your technology resource:

  • is a core MAP power user
  • can manage the many marketing technologies that plug into the stack
  • has strong CRM skills, exposure to many marketing technologies (this one isn’t quite a must-have, but a very nice-to-have)

While your data resource: 

  • can bring raw data together in a meaningful way
  • can explore reports until they uncover meaningful insights and provide informed recommendations
  • is comfortable breaking down complex data into a consumable level to communicate with teams across the organization


Becoming a data-driven marketer requires more than just adopting the latest technology stack or collecting as much data as you can. It requires a strategic approach that encompasses the right tools for your organization, a supportive culture, and a skilled team that knows how to leverage these tools to their fullest potential. 

Becoming data-driven is not just a buzzword or a trend; it is a full organizational shift that can drive substantial impacts when done correctly. By leveraging the power of data to inform decision-making, organizations can unlock valuable insights, deliver exceptional customer experiences, optimize marketing efforts, and achieve better results in an ever-changing and competitive landscape.

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