There is an urgent need for ‘data democratisation’ in bigger companies that extends beyond simply giving marketers access to data from related silos, a global SEO specialist has said.

“It’s about how you connect them and how you create data pipelines,” according to Arnoldo Cabrera, global SEO manager at IKEA. “It’s about speed and scale and if you’re a decision maker you need to check the tools are up to that.”

He was speaking as new research revealed a gap between companies’ marketing data strategies and where their resources are actually being focused.

An Opportunity Snapshot study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of online visibility management platform SEMrush was based on a survey of 171 marketing/SEO data decision makers at companies in the US and Europe.

This found that, for example, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) data, which helps marketers better understand popular keywords or topics that customers care about, is only used in slightly more than 50% of marketing campaigns, despite being ranked in the top three marketing channels by almost 90% of respondents.

Marketers admitted to not being very effective at applying data across channels, with less than half claiming to be ‘very effective’ in any marketing discipline.

Many attributed this lack of effectiveness to an overall lack of tools and defined processes in place to enable data sharing. As a result of this, they often question the validity of the data that they do share, and express concern that the lack of data quality hinders their ability to learn about target audiences.

“It’s about getting the right toolset,” Cabrera stressed, and building the ability to connect internal and external data to better understand particular markets and audiences.

Not only are data silos stopping companies from getting a 360-degree view of their customers, he said, “there is a lack of understanding of the lifetime value of a customer that is acquired by a specific channel, especially organic search.”

There’s the human factor to consider as well, he added. “Some senior marketers still don’t understand how the [SEO] landscape can work and what are the advantages.” For IKEA, where SEO represents more than 50% of traffic, “it’s a no-brainer”, he said, “but you need to do your homework and communicate the importance of the channel.”

Sourced from SEMrush; additional content by WARC staff