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Overcoming 10 Data Challenges in Marketing Agencies


As a marketing agency, incorporating data-driven marketing is essential. However, agencies face numerous challenges when trying to achieve successful data-driven marketing. From suboptimal tracking to data gaps between Google Analytics and ad platforms, there are several data challenges that marketing agencies need to overcome to be successful. 

In this blog post, we'll discuss the top 10 data challenges marketing agencies must overcome and how to address them.

Suboptimal tracking

Inaccurate data tracking can cause significant problems in analyzing a marketing campaign's performance. The first thing that comes to mind is that marketers need to avoid suboptimal tracking by implementing correct UTM parameters for Google Analytics. Marketers would not understand which traffic sources worked well without good UTM source data.

A typical issue could also be in Tag Manager not triggering or loading the tracking pixels correctly. To avoid this issue, align with the client on who will ensure good data tracking is managed and practiced.

Having the right resources and experience in assessing the marketing technology stack would be important. Ensure your agency is prepared to address any client data tracking issues.

Limited data visibility to client's data

Not having access to a client's data impacts your agency's ability to evaluate the campaign's effectiveness. To overcome this challenge, discuss data policies when onboarding new clients and establish data-sharing procedures to ensure essential data is available.

Commonly, agencies would have certain access to client-level data like Google Analytics, Google Ads, Meta ads, etc. However, it is unsurprising that agencies don't get access to client's CRM or backend data with their customer-level data.

In many cases, the success of marketing campaigns managed by the agencies requires such backend data to be readily available to support data-driven marketing. (e.g., getting a customer list for creating exclusions from targeting or creating a look-a-like audience)

Data silos amongst client data

Data silos, where vital information is stored separately and not shared with the agency, create inefficiencies and make it challenging to measure the performance of a marketing campaign. 

Work with clients to ensure they have a data strategy that allows for sharing data with their agency to reap the benefits of data-driven marketing intelligently.

It is also common for data silos to exist in the client's data environment. For example, not all data the marketing team needs would be available in the marketing department, and the key information may reside in the product department or IT.

Suppose the required data is not available in the client's marketing department. In that case, you as an agency must align with the client on your limitation and the solution to address any gaps to make your work effective.

Lack of analytics capabilities within the agency

The gap between the data and marketing teams can limit your capability to integrate data insights into your strategy. To ensure data and analytics are utilized effectively to inform your marketing decisions, establish a closer relationship between marketers and data teams.

That includes communication, processes, and capabilities. As for capabilities, most marketers are not technically versed in building dashboards or analyzing complex data; therefore, if the agency could use any tools or capabilities to support data-driven marketing, start investing in them.

Client lacking data acumen

Not all clients are familiar with data management and use, making it difficult to understand the importance of data-driven marketing. Incorporate client training programs to ensure that everyone in the engagement understands and is equipped to contribute to the process.

It is common within the client side that a data engineer who understands what the marketing team needs is not on the same team or department. So, different priorities and budgets would dictate the resource's priorities. So, not only is low data acumen in marketers not helpful, but the worst case is having a client with no support structure for these marketers.

Bad data

Incorporating bad data affects the accuracy of marketing decisions and can hurt the client's budget and success. The saying, "Garbage in, garbage out," means that if you have bad data as an input, the resulting output will also be inaccurate. Therefore, it is crucial to establish quality control processes and regularly audit data sources to ensure accuracy.

Data cleansing through verification and validation can eliminate bad data and improve decision-making and marketing efforts.

Furthermore, ensure all involved parties understand what qualifies as "good" data and how it should be collected and stored. This will help prevent future issues with bad data and ensure that the agency and client are on the same page regarding data management.

No commitment to data-driven marketing

Without senior-level support and an active commitment to data-driven marketing, the agency's efforts can be handicapped. Collaborate with top-level management to ensure a clear understanding of the role of data and guide the company toward embracing data-driven marketing.

Marketers are not reviewing the data.

Having the data is one hurdle, but reviewing it and using it to inform marketing strategies is a skill. Set up regular reviews of campaign metrics to keep track of general trends and insights that can be executed.

Where data-driven marketing is a norm, your team must have a good cadence to review client metrics. Perhaps creating a standardized dashboard to view client KPIs easily would be a good place to start investing.

Not able to keep up with changes

Due to the fast-paced nature of the digital industry, new ideas and innovations are regularly developed. To avoid getting left behind, invest the time to keep up with the latest trends and advancements to prevent being caught off guard.

Every year, something is always changing on a macro level. In recent years, Apple has made it hard for advertisers to track users, making iOS users opt-in to tracking. Google has also announced killing cookies from Chrome browser, making marketers' job harder with the accuracy of data from ad platforms becoming less reliable.

Data gaps between Google Analytics and ad platforms

The data provided by Google Analytics may not always match the information provided by ad platforms, making campaign evaluation much more challenging. Finding ways to reconcile data differences between these platforms is critical.

We all know Google Analytics or equivalent web analytics tools are widely adopted by companies to assess marketing performance. However, campaign managers usually operate their campaigns through ad platforms, often reporting different results.

Overcoming data challenges is necessary to have successful data-driven marketing for your agency. Suboptimal data practices are the primary areas of concern. By understanding these challenges and finding ways to address them, you can improve your agency's ability to execute successful data-driven marketing campaigns.

These challenges and learnings are also applicable to client-side marketers. So please pay attention if you are a marketer trying to get the most out of your analytics data.

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Building An Agency - ZoomMetrix
I’ve been running a marketing agency as a COO, and I’m writing articles for specific to building a marketing agency. By sharing my experience, I hope that my it will inspire ideas and help avoid mistakes for those business leaders interested in building an agency. Even if you’re not an agency owner, I hope you can find something interesting from my experience that can add value in building your career as a marketer or as an entrepreneur.
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Kris Twitter

As a data journalist, I enjoy curating and analyzing marketing trends, and data. The things that fascinate me the most are the transforming business landscape due to evolving marketing technologies.