Every marketing article you read these days seems to be about data-based marketing and the role of analytics in decision-making.

It is true that marketers don't lack data. Data is easily accessed within our marketing automation platforms, our CRM platforms, our website analytics platforms, our data-management platforms, and our content management platforms.

As a consequence, many marketers are overloaded with data. Some may even feel data paralysis. But for the few marketers who have figured out how to bring their platforms together for a unified look at data, their situation is data heaven.

Integrating multiple platforms used to be time-consuming and resource-heavy. Moreover, integrating multiple solutions once required a team of developers or systems integrators, but today almost all cloud-based systems are built with an eye toward integration. Bringing them together is often as simple as entering an API key.

With technology no longer a barrier, let's explore a few of the benefits of unifying your marketing stack.

One Place to Store Analytics

Many marketers have already successfully integrated their marketing automation platform and their CRM. The integration of those two systems is a great example of how integrated analytics can dramatically improve the reporting of the individual platforms. When the data from these two systems is brought together, marketers can accurately report on email campaign success in relation to total sales. They can also break down conversion by sales stage, account manager, or sales territory.

More importantly, marketers can show their contribution to the pipeline. And because the individual contact records are updated with activity from marketing automation, sales is aware of which content has been consumed by prospects, making sales calls more targeted and productive.

Imagine what would happen if all your other platforms came together in the same way. With a single repository to store and access data and analytics, you would no longer struggle with marketing attribution, measuring your content effectiveness, accurately defining your audience, or delivering the content that converts.

Holistic View of Your Audience

Your customer and prospect data is stored across every platform you use. But because each platform has a different focus, from identifying anonymous traffic (account-based marketing platform) to determining website traffic (analytics platform) to email engagement (marketing automation platform), you don't have a single view of your audience.

When you bring together all your platforms, you can finally see a top-down view of your audience and base your marketing strategy around your true audience.

For example, you might find that while your analytics solution says that 95% of your website traffic is anonymous, your firmographics supplier can identify some of that traffic, and your data management platform can identify even more. By using all the resources at your disposal, you can piece together the puzzle that has plagued marketers for years: What is my true audience?

Smarter Segmentation

Today, many marketers use audience segmentation when determining email marketing strategy. Based on the data you have in your CRM or MAP, you might segment your audience by region, industry, product interest, or stage in the sales cycle to ensure that the email messaging and content resonates with the recipients. You don't want to email customers in New York about an event in San Francisco or to share a pharmaceutical case study with a technology customer. You know that personalized content drives better conversion.

When all your platforms are connected, you will find that you have many more options for segmentation. Segments can now be based not only on CRM or MAP data but also on IP data, device type, firmographics, demographics, website behavior, and much more.

Ability to Personalize Content, Regardless of Channel

Smarter segmentation creates the foundation for better marketing, but marketers must spend the time to personalize and test messages and content by audience.

The best marketing means delivering the right message to the right person at the right time. With smarter segments and connected platforms, you can not only define the best buyer's journey for each segment, but you can present each segment with the messages that will resonate, across any channel, whether email, websites, or face to face.

The sequencing of content and the delivery of it across any channel is only possible when your systems are integrated and can pass information back and forth.

For example, imagine that your buyer's journey includes a whitepaper and a demo. If your prospect downloads the whitepaper from the website, you can automatically trigger an email requesting a demo. If the prospect doesn't take action in the email, the next time he or she returns to the website, you can personalize the hero image or present him or her with a fly-in to set up a demo.

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Though bringing together multiple platforms sounds like something that will only be possible in the future, the truth is that many B2B companies have done it, and the process was neither complicated nor costly. Armed with synthesized data and the ability to segment and target, those companies are taking their industries by storm.

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image of Jim Eustace

Jim Eustace is founder and CEO of Get Smart Content, a software provider that enables brands to personalize content across channels.

LinkedIn: Jim Eustace